How becoming an instructor helped our mental and physical health

Helping others is a drive for many. By helping others to a healthier life these instructors also helped themselves to a better place both mentally and physically.

Alon SchneiderAlon Schneider
Alon Schneider Hait
, Denmark

When I was 5 years old, I’ve started gaining weight. You know how cruel kids can be - I was taught, mocked at, and humiliated due to my obesity. This continues to my teen years and early adulthood. This “vicious cycle” of mockery-obesity-mockery brought my fragile self-esteem down. I never wanted to be seen, always wanted to be kept out of sight, even though I am a very friendly, people-loving person and outspoken. I was, of course, terrified of physical activities, the gym or even to be seen jogging - not to be mocked at because of my looks and my movement disabilities.

In 2011 I had treated my basal medical condition that brought obesity upon me and started to lose some weight. To continue the process, I joined the gym. One time I saw “BODYPUMP” on the club’s schedule and signed up. 2 minutes in, it took me 2 minutes to realize, I am loving it. My instructor Camila was mesmerizing and observant and saw my lack of ability to clean and press at first, or perform a correct squat, so she took me under her wings, and instructed me closely. Release 99 passed by, and so did 100-106. I joined each and every one of her classes. I felt at home. I felt accepted. I felt like a Bodypumper, I felt part of a group. One day I asked Camila jokingly “so, how do you become an instructor anyway?” Not an hour passed by and I already got a link in my email. Didn’t think twice, paid, bought a flight ticket to Stockholm, and passed my initial education. I started teaching classes and a new release event was as happy for me as my birthday. From a shy obese boy who only wanted to be unseen, I became the outgoing, secure, and positive person I am today.

Marthine Bakkehaug, Norway
I grew up in a home with parents who are alcoholics. I’ve felt lost and was going to bad environments and had an alcohol problem myself at a very young age. When I was 14 years old I woke up at the hospital with alcohol poisoning. It was the breakthrough that I needed to take another path than my parents and get my life on track. I decided to start in the gym and BODYCOMBAT really appealed to me. It gave me the feeling of release, to just be in that moment, to feel like I was in control and a part of something. In the end, it made me feel happy in sometimes a grey life. Thru the years BODYCOMBAT has been like therapy for me and made me survive. I’m grateful that I found LES MILLS at a time when I was in need of some painkiller. Now I’m getting more and more healthy and BODYCOMBAT is still the highlight of my week.
Today I am working for others to find this love for BODYCOMBAT and other LES MILLS programs. And we have a big team in my city who have different struggles, but together we keep it real and stay with the fight.

Maiara Moreno & Jimmy Jonsson, Sweden

Maiara Morenos version:
In 2020 I was very depressed and had anxiety. I was in a very dark period of my life when some friends convinced me to go to Jimmy Jonsson’s classes because they knew I love to dance. I went a few times and I simply loved Jimmy's energy. That class was everything I needed, and I regret not having come there before. I started to go every week, discovered other Les Mills classes, and started a much healthier life. I used to take 4 medicines a day, today I don’t take any. I started to see passion, happiness, and meaning in my life again, and SH’BAM and Jimmy changed it for me.

Jimmy Jonssons version:
I came to know Maiara during 2020 when she started to attend my SH'BAM classes. I quickly learned that Maiara is a very open and social person and that she had completely fallen in love with SH'BAM. Her energy during the classes stood out and the more she danced the more energy she gave. One Friday Maiara told me that she felt so happy now and that she now was free from her medication. At that moment I just felt so happy and told her that this is exactly what it is all about; make people feel happy! And I told her that her story pays a hundred times for all the effort I've put into all classes. At that moment I realized the amazing power of SH'BAM and that it truly can affect people's mental and physical health in such a positive way. I really believe in Rachael Newsham's own words: "Dance is a shortcut to happiness!"

Linnea Elffors
Linnea Elffors, Sweden

In 2019, something happened that changed my life. At the beginning of the year, I suffered from major burnout. I was buried deep down in a dark hole of extreme anxiety, which gave me all sorts of really scary symptoms, making my day-to-day life extremely tough. This was also the year I fell in love with BODYCOMBAT. During my illness, the one thing I was able to do, was to go to the gym and take BODYCOMBAT classes. The music, the movements, the instructors, the energy in the room, all gave me the strength to continue forward, one day at a time. My daily BODYCOMBAT class became like a small ember, in an otherwise very dark and scary place. After a few months I set up a goal for myself - “when I get out of this darkness...I want to become a BODYCOMBAT instructor”. That sentence kept me going for months and months, even though I wasn't even sure if I was walking closer to the end of the tunnel or not.

Now, 2 years later, the darkness has passed, but the light I get from BODYCOMBAT is still there, stronger than ever. In 2020 I went to my Initial Training and cried tears of happiness when I got my Instructors License. I know how much group fitness can mean to people, especially when you’re going through something difficult in life because I have been there. BODYCOMBAT gave me strength and willpower, to keep going, and my goal as an instructor is to give that light forward. When I get up on that stage, I want to inspire people with my voice, with my journey, and also - help them to find their own inner strength, through the magic essence of BODYCOMBAT.

Ida Rosengren, Sweden
My journey to becoming an instructor started 5 years ago. I had a bumpy start in my life with a lot of doubting and bad thoughts of not being good enough, I needed a change. My mental health was like a ticking bomb. I was extremely ambitious, I wanted people to see me, to confirm my skills in every step I took. It made me even sicker. I was a happy, crazy, and funny girl on the outside but on the inside, I felt lonely, stressed, physically weak, and tired.

5 years ago, a colleague brought me to an RPM class, she knew that I was stressed, tired, and needed something that energized me, and I was blown away. I didn’t realize at the time that this was just the beginning of the new me. I started to attend classes every week. I became a regular. I was in the front line every class to watch the technical parts, to listen to the instructor, and to feel the music. For the first time in many years, I felt belongingness. I used the fitness classes to heal, reenergize, and fuel my body with positivity. I decided then to become an instructor and in 2017 I did my first initial training. My mental illness has been a bumpy ride since. I have been burned out, I worked too much at my regular job and I slept 14 hours per day, I needed the recovery. The one thing I didn’t stop with was my fitness classes. That was my guiding light, my way to clear my mind, my second home, and my place to be. When I needed to get energy my participants helped me to feel strong again.

Grete Mürk, Denmark
It all started back in 2018 when I first came to Denmark for an exchange year. Unfortunately, I couldn’t continue life as a professional dancer like I was used to and neither
had a chance to do gymnastics on a higher level which was my other passion. After a couple of months in a new, and strange culture I found myself in a situation where a huge part of my life was missing. Not having a community made me feel like a ghost, walking around and being a nobody. During this dark period, I also developed relatively disordered eating habits which caused me significant weight gain. However, I heard about BODYATTACK from my classmates and decided to try it. It was the turning point when everything was to change. I started eating healthy, found something to look forward to, and finally got back the feeling of being someone by sharing the incredible BODYATTACK energy with others. By now, my closest friends are Les Mills Instructors and they really are a huge inspiration to me. Becoming an instructor has added lots of value to my life and both friends and members mean a lot to me and have helped me identify myself.