I’ve been fortunate enough to appear on a couple of RPM Masterclasses in the past, but this one was very different. I was invited to present two tracks on RPM 89, which would be filmed from a studio in London, directed by a crew in New Zealand. The footage would then be edited to make me appear next to Glen [Ostergaard] on the Masterclass – almost as though we were in the same studio.
The reason for filming this way was that, due to the travel restrictions brought by COVID-19, international presenters were unable to travel to Auckland to film at Les Mills HQ.
When I found out that I’d be on an RPM filming, my first thought was I need to get bike-fit! COVID-19 restrictions in the UK meant I hadn’t been teaching many classes, and with limited access to the gym during lockdown, my fitness wasn't where it would have been normally. Fortunately, I’d recently invested in a home exercise bike, so then it was a case of getting pedalling!
One of the best things about being part of the filming process is meeting fellow presenters and the Program Directors: you get to watch others teach, pick up tips and apply them to your own classes. There’s also the moral support you get from being part of the same process – it gives you the confidence to develop. Learning from the other side of the world meant I could have easily felt distanced from the process, but I was lucky to have the amazing Sarah Ostergaard as my Program Coach.
To learn the release, Les Mills sent me a video of Glen teaching and sharing some tips on how to deliver the tracks. I filmed myself twice during the week and Sarah provided guidance on how to deliver my tracks. I was able to contact her whenever I needed, which was a huge help.
THE DAY OF FILMING
I woke up with a few nerves on the morning of filming and they carried on for much of the day as the shoot wasn’t scheduled until 6pm. I tried to do most of my normal stuff: decent breakfast, school run and even the laundry (!) before I had to travel to the studio in London. Before setting off, I checked my gym bag about 17 times to ensure I had everything I needed!
It was a small crew in the studio: six production guys, plus my fellow presenters Denise [Burr] and Sarah [Durnford] who were also filming for BODYPUMP™ and BODYBALANCE™/BODYFLOW®. It was so good to have familiar faces in the room. We were directed from New Zealand by Producer Ross Peebles and Creative Director Kylie Gates via a video call, and it was great to be able to chat to them and feel their support from the other side of the world.
TEACHING DIRECT TO CAMERA!
Having never taught directly to camera before, this was the part that caused me the most anxiety. I always practise teaching new releases to an empty room – so that part was fine – but the challenge was maintaining focus on the red cross in front of me. I’m so used to looking around when I teach in class, that the slightest movement like someone tapping their foot would catch my eye. I had to continually remind myself to "keep eyes on the red dot"!
When it came to the filming itself, I didn’t ride the whole release as you normally would, going through the full ‘journey’ of RPM. I only taught my presentation tracks so going from track 2 mode to track 6 mode was... fun, haha!
Due to the pandemic restrictions in the UK, I couldn’t practise in live classes beforehand, which created an element of uncertainty going into filming. But it was also exciting – not knowing what the filming was going to be like or how the end product would look. I absolutely loved being part of this round and I really hope Instructors enjoy the unique Masterclass of RPM 89.
Based in London, Washington Chishaya is an RPM and ‘Advanced Training’ Trainer for Les Mills UK, as well as being a LES MILLS CORE presenter. He has been a Trainer since 2010 and a Les Mills Instructor since 2002. His favorite thing about being an Instructor is: "quite simply that no class ever feels like work. As a Trainer I'm lucky enough to get to share that same passion with fellow Instructors."
Learn more about how the "hologram releases" were created.