Camilo Echavarria has never been one to err on the side of caution. Originally from Colombia, he found a new home in New Zealand and at the front row of BODYATTACK™ classes. Little did Camilo know, his enthusiasm would earn him a surprise spot on release 117 masterclass. No Instructor training? No problem. At least that’s what Camilo told himself. He documented the highs and lows of filming week – an experience that changed him for good…

Day 0

Is it possible to be the most excited and nervous you’ve ever been all at the same time? Because I am FREAKING out! Lisa Osborne just asked me if I wanted to be a part of BODYATTACK 117 filming next week. On stage. As a part of the release. With no previous Instructor training. And I’ve said yes?!

Alright, of course I said yes. Nine years have passed since leaving behind the perfect life, the perfect job, the perfect friends and a beautiful apartment by the sea in Colombia – all because I wanted more. I wanted a challenge.

It’s almost full circle, really. BODYATTACK was the challenge that inspired me to take control of my health. From nervously slipping into the back row all those years ago, to now making a daily dash to the front row, before smiling and whistling through my favorite tracks. People say I have infectious energy, but my love for BODYATTACK is half to blame for that! And BODYATTACK is wholly to blame for my being 30KG down since this love affair started!

Anyway, I better be getting to bed – work tomorrow. Remember that? Your day job as a chemical engineer that you will STILL have to find time for? Oh boy…

Rehearsal Day 1: 4 days until filming

Time and time again I tell myself that I live for a challenge, but Camilo, you’ve really done it this time. These Instructors are a different breed.

I felt like I knew the choreography … SPOILER ALRT: I didn’t know the choreography. Not like the Instructors do at least. When you do a class on the floor you follow the music, that’s easy enough. But the Instructors count in their heads like finely tuned BODYATTACK robots nailing track after track after track. Oh my gosh and the MIRRORING. You always start with your right leg on the floor, but when you’re on the stage you have to use your left leg. It’s all backward and it’s AWKWARD.

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far without mentioning how sore I am. Though I need to be kind to myself. Like I always say, my body is an amazing machine … a machine that’s sure going to earn its fitness warranty by the end of the week!

Rehearsal Day 2: 3 days until filming

To no one’s surprise, I woke up in pain. Only physical mind you – a study session that eclipsed midnight has my mind in tip-top shape. The moves? I know them. The music? Got my count covered. I walked into rehearsals this morning feeling like the man. And I was, kind of. The morning rehearsal went well, and the afternoon session even better. The true test came that evening when we took to the stage in front of a REAL class in front of REAL people – my friends included, ahh!

I walked out to an introduction from Lisa and reassuring applause. It started well. But halfway through, the mistakes came. I don’t know what happened – brain fog from my recent bout with COVID? Who knows? This was recorded too.

So here I am, writing this, still bummed I messed up. But you know what? I’M GOING TO BE IN A MASTERCLASS FILMING – written into the history of a program that has given me so much. My face and my name will be there. People will see me – my fellow BODYATTACK fanatics included. I’m doing this for them as much as I am for myself. I hope they watch this release and feel my energy.

"If he’s doing it, anyone can do it” – that’s how I want people to feel.

Rehearsal Day 3: 2 days until filming

Well, I let overthinking get the best of me last night. I just couldn’t shake the mistakes from yesterday, and a binge of chocolate and popcorn felt like the logical solution.

I woke up (4 AM for the third day running – woohoo) disappointed but determined, hurrying through my engineering duties and piecing together a plan for how I can come back today even stronger. Then it hit me – a mindset shift that lifted a weight from my shoulders: if I mess up today, I’m going to be the first to laugh and OWN it.

What a difference that made, as did a drop in complexity that gave me much-needed time to absorb. Now it’s time to focus on the little things – WHAT THINGS? – and who better to talk me through it than the best of the best? Everyone is probably so sick of me bugging them for advice!

It’s a revelation how hard these Instructors work. Sometimes on the floor we can be harsh on the Instructors, but now I see there is such a giant amount of energy in every class. It’s insane to me that they can come to every class with a different release and literally not miss a beat!

For tonight’s practice sesh, they are my inspiration. As for tomorrow, I’ve got a checklist: laugh through the mistakes, focus hard, and do my best. It’s the only attitude I can have when I’ve had so much support. Felt so much love. Felt so much CONNECTION.

Man, I’m just so grateful for this opportunity at the end of the day.

Rehearsals Day 4: 1 day until filming

You know your life is full-on when a 5 AM alarm feels like a sleep-in! I’m in a bit of a routine now. Wake up before the crack of dawn, remember that I’m still a chemical engineer, work, rehearse, then into the Les Mills office for real rehearsals at 10.

Even with countless hours of prep, I’m still not as natural as I would like to be. All I can say is: “Bless these Instructors.” Sivi, Sarah, Liam – everyone was amazing today, offering their valuable time to show what areas I needed to tidy up before tomorrow. They’ve given me the knowledge, now I’ve just got to get it done … without a mirror (scary) and without the guidance of our rehearsal video (very scary).

Pretty sure I’ve asked everyone 50+ times if they’re tired or sore (hoping for a single yes) and they all reply “no”. What do you mean no?! I’m standing across from them with arms that feel like noodles and legs so heavy they’d count as checked luggage on a flight home to Colombia.

But hey, no excuses; we don’t do those around here. In 24 hours, I’ll have the rest of my life to recover. All that matters right now is calming my nerves and locking in for one final night; just me and my moves (and maybe making sure my massage gun is charged).

Filming Day

Well, I’m pretty close to tears. After a week of intense rehearsal and panicking and asking for help and health worries, it’s finally done.

Excuse me, I’ll backtrack.

At home I talked myself into feeling confident – you know the drill – “I’ve practiced so much. This will go well, this will go well.” Then I saw the stage. It became real. The tech, the cameras, the lights; it was as breathtaking as it was overwhelming. What’s more, I see Bevan with 20 years of BA experience STILL rehearsing. If he’s not done perfecting this release, what’s going to happen to me?!

If only I could tell myself at that moment that this was going to be one of the best experiences of my life. A few mistakes came early, but before I could feel sorry for myself I heard others saying “I did this wrong” or “I messed that up”. Like, what? You’re human too?! At that moment, everything slowed down.

“I’m representing for all my BODYATTACK fanatics. Let’s go.”

My smile was wider, my energy felt endless, my movements were powerful – AHH I’m still having trouble processing that this was real. The production coordinator even pulled me aside to show me a clip of what a difference my newfound confidence had made.

I still made a couple of mistakes, of course, but with each passing track, I realized this was beautiful regardless of the outcome. The mental and physical challenges. The hours of prep and study. My landlord giving me my two-weeks’ notice just last night (how have I forgotten to mention this?). All wrapped up in this unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Once I’m back on the floor with my BODYATTACK friends, I don’t think I’ll feel the same. I’m not the same member anymore. It might sound cheesy, but my life has changed, and I’m determined to keep my evolution going. Even if I never become an Instructor, I’m so thankful for the release. It’s in my heart forever.

I’ll never forget that when I finished BODYATTACK 117, I felt like Superman.

Camilo Echavarria is a BODYATTACK superfan. Originally from Colombia, Camilo currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand where he works as a chemical engineer.