Investing energy in the health of future generations

For years Bas Hollander has thrown his heart and soul into inspiring young people to fall in love with physical activity. He’s now a BORN TO MOVE™ presenter and travels the globe training BORN TO MOVE™ teachers. Find out what drives him, and why he knows investing in the health of future generations is a must.

Bas Hollander firmly believes that you’re only as good as the energy you invest. This is why he invests a lot of energy into being the best fitness role model he can be. We recently caught up with him to find out where his love of physical activity came from – and what he’d like to pass on to future generations.

What fuelled your love of physical activity?
My father was a physical education teacher who really understands the value of being active. When I was young he was always outside playing with me and my four siblings – everything from riding bikes to running and playing baseball. I started judo when I was four and for many years it was a big part of my life. Judo taught me to respect others, it built discipline and I learned how to win and how to lose. Most importantly, it taught me that I didn’t need to be ‘gifted’ or ‘talented’ but if I worked a improving my ability I could become better at anything I put my mind to.

How did you know a career in fitness was for you?
When I was 17 my judo teacher encouraged me to try a Les Mills RPM™ class. I gave it a go and I was addicted. I did the RPM™ instructor training and for the first time I experienced how I could help others while being active myself. In an instant I knew I wanted to be doing this for a very long time.

What inspired you to get involved with BORN TO MOVE™?
I was a high school physical education teacher when first came across BORN TO MOVE™. After doing a trial class I immediately knew it was a great program, so I did the training and started teaching BORN TO MOVE™ during my classes. I knew that most children would love it, but I was sceptical about teaching BORN TO MOVE™ during the classes I taught for children with learning and behaviour difficulties. This scepticism didn’t last long. One day I tried a class with these kids and it was amazing. As I was taking them through BORN TO MOVE™ I realized that I’d never seen so many smiles on kids’ faces. What’s more, it was the first time that every child asked me to teach the class again! From that moment I was hooked. The fact that I’m now involved in the training of BORN TO MOVE™ teachers is a real highlight. I love being in a position to share a program that can benefit so many lives.

Why’s it important for young people to fall in love with movement?
Children learn so much from being active. It’s not only about the physical competencies, they also pick up a wealth of other important learnings. It drives children to discover all the possibilities, encouraging them to use their strength and work hard on the things that they are not good at yet. It helps build discipline.

What can parents do to help?
I hope that more parents begin to teach their children that being active is just like eating or sleeping – it’s a part of everyday life. From an early age we’re all taught to brush our teeth before bed and it becomes a habit so strong that it feels weird when we don’t do it. We need to do the same with physical activity, make it part of our daily routine. The secret is to make activity fun. This could mean encouraging fun games and activities, or simply making boring household chores fun by adding a game component.

Do you have any wise words for youngsters?
Firstly, find an activity that you really like. Secondly, don’t take things too seriously. Thirdly, don’t be afraid to fail. Each time you don’t do as well as you want to you can learn something. I often think about what the famous basketballer Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and I’ve missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And this is why I succeed.”

Find out more about how Les Mills is motivating young people to get moving with BORN TO MOVE™.

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