Gabriel Hurtado was overweight and out of shape when he first joined a gym well over a decade ago. When he first started, he felt self-conscious as if everyone at the gym was looking at him, and that he was out of shape while everyone else was fit and healthy. After some visits though, he started to talk to people, other members started to notice him and talk to him, he made new friends and started to feel comfortable in this new environment.
“The starting point for me in my workout journey was that I wanted to get in shape, so I joined a gym. My fitness level really started to change when I found the group fitness classes. The first group fitness class I ever took as a member was Les Mills GRIT®. I thought to myself it is only 30 minutes, I can do that. Little did I know how hard the class would feel the first time. The instructor encouraged me to continue when he saw my development and that also strengthened my motivation. Even though the GRIT class was hard the first time, it sparked something in me, and I kept going back to the class. I used to watch the BODYPUMP® classes and I was interested in training with the bars and weights. Eventually, when I felt strong enough, I decided to try a BODYPUMP class and that was absolutely love at first sight and it still is.”
We Never Stop Learning and Evolving as Instructors
Gabriel started his instructor journey back in 2012 teaching freestyle classes at first. As BODYPUMP® was his favorite class, it only made sense to start teaching it. His first education from Les Mills was attending BODYPUMP® Initial Training. Since then, he has been certified in 6 different Les Mills programs, Les Mills GRIT® among them. He always remembers to tell the members that you don’t have to be super fit to join a GRIT® class, rather you start at your own level and build from there.
“I was so nervous when I went to my first Initial Training for BODYPUMP® but then the trainer quickly put me at ease with his inspiring attitude and positivity. It struck me when he said that we never stop learning and evolving as instructors. Participating felt safe and fun. Each participant is sent the materials they need before the education, including the choreography, music, and notes for the 2 tracks they need to learn. It is at exactly the right level for anyone who is just starting their instructor journey, but it is also perfect for learning new skills and developing your coaching and people skills.”
Everyone Is Welcome
In his classes, Gabriel focuses on inclusion and making everyone feel welcome, seen, and heard. There is one couple, in particular, he feels proud to be teaching on a regular basis. There was a woman who attended his BODYCOMBAT® classes and absolutely loved the program. She approached Gabriel one time to ask if it would be ok for her husband to join one of the classes. The reason why she felt she should ask first was that her husband had suffered a back injury that left him in a wheelchair. It was not self-evident that he could join a group fitness class given the challenges he faced with moving. Gabriel welcomed him to the class of course and before long they both became regulars. Gabriel went on to say; “They are my proudest moment in being an instructor. After they had been coming to my classes for a while, the wife confided in me and told me how much the classes meant for them. They had been struggling to find a hobby that they could do together ever since her husband’s injury and this class was something they could do together again. The husband told me that his stamina and upper body strength have also increased since starting BODYCOMBAT classes. It is such a great feeling to be a part of that, truly inspirational, and makes you feel humble to be able to do this.”
The Instructor Journey continues
The instructor journey starts with Initial Training but there are no limits to it. In the Initial Training the focus is on delivering classes that are both safe and effective and nailing down the basics of creating memorable experiences for the participants. Advanced Training is a step to deepen the knowledge of one’s personal skills and explore how to make teaching classes a lifelong journey.
“The first Advanced Training that I did, really took my confidence to a new level and strengthened my coaching. The boost in confidence also showed up in my private life and that is a big factor in why I am seated in the jobs I have today. From the Les Mills educations, I got so many great tips, not only for teaching classes but also tips I can implement in my personal and work life. Things like how to approach different kinds of people, whether they are shy or outgoing or something in between. The things you learn in the educations, you can easily apply to other areas of life as well. Thanks to the Instructing part of my life, I am where I am today.”
Why are you looking down when others look up to you?
“Next up for me is Advanced Training for BODYCOMBAT®. From Advanced Training I will get the feedback and boost that I need to keep developing. In this education, you really work more on what’s within you. The first Advanced Training that I did started a process for me that not only helped me in my instructing but also in my private life. There was a very simple sentence that changed my whole way of being with people. The trainer noticed that whenever I was nervous or insecure, I would tend to look down at the ground. So, she asked me why am I looking down, when everyone else is looking up at me. That sentence thought me not to be so hard on myself and got me to the point where I can enjoy what I do more.”
“Coaching new instructors to be better than I am”
“I am also an instructor coach which means I support new instructors in getting started. My goal is to make them better than I am. I sometimes help clubs in recruiting new instructors. I can spot people from my classes and start the process by talking to them and finding out if being an instructor is something they are interested in.”
Gabriel explained that finding employment as a Les Mills instructor is easy, because clubs know that Les Mills instructors are quality certified, and their coaching and techniques are excellent. It is also an international community. A great example of that is live events like Les Mills LIVE, where thousands of instructors and fitness fans come together to train and celebrate fitness. A great tip for clubs also came up when he talked about the recruitment methods clubs use. Holding an audition event is an excellent way to find new instructors. It is a fun and engaging way to find new talent who are motivated and passionate about what they do.