Les Mills in The Netherlands

I keep getting asked online if I’m going to the upcoming workshops in The Netherlands, but unfortunately the answer is no. I was proud in the past I never missed a single workshop, not until the one that was 1 week after I gave birth, lol. But since then I’ve not been able to attend again, cuz here in the Netherlands they won’t let me go.

When I first arrived here I tried to register, but they told me I had to register through a gym that I worked for. The unfortunately thing is that I have not yet been able to get classes at the gym I’ve been a member of because I cannot speak Dutch. I’d kinda given up trying but I’ve since heard that other English speaking instructors have been able to teach classes elsewhere so I might give other gyms a go. However my chances here are small since Apeldoorn isn’t really a touristy area and they expect you to speak Dutch.

Anyway, back to the Les Mills issue. Here you must work for a gym otherwise you can’t go to the workshops. The plus side is that the gym pays for all the training and materials. I used to think this was an awesome idea and would have LOVED to have my materials paid for. God knows how much I’ve spent on my trainings and DVD’s etc……..I know I’ve spent about AU$2000 on DVD’s and CD’s alone. But now that I’ve actually seen it in action I don’t think it’s a good idea for the quality of the fitness industry. It means, if you want to become an instructor then a gym must agree to hire you and pay for all your training.

The negative side of this, is you could REALLY want to desperately become an instructor, be very very passionate about the program, have plenty of potential…………but unless the gym wants you as an instructor then you have no chance (I’m not talking about me here, I’m already an instructor. I’m referring to the system and people in general). On the other side of the scale, if a gym desperately needs an instructor, they just pick a person and send them on the training. Depending on the management this person could be someone who has the passion and talent. Or it could just be the manager’s girlfriend’s brother’s bestfriend. You get the picture.

At least with the Australian way if you’re really passionate about teaching, then opportunity to do so is much more possible. Then, after those who’ve done the training and shadowed a bit……natural selection takes place. If you’re a poor instructor, you don’t get classes. It’s that simple.

Here however, once a gym has invested in the training for the instructor, there’s no turning back. In my opinion it appears this is generating a greater percentage of poor instructors here. Instructors that don’t really give a damn. Instructors that, even after 3 months of doing the same chorrey (the no mixing issue is another gripe of mine, grrrr) they STILL make mistakes with the chorrey. Instructors that do random stuff just for the sake of it.

The fact that they do a release nearly the entire 3 months here is just another issue that in my opinion reduces the quality of instructors. They tend to get lazy. After so long doing the same release the participants know the chorrey, and so the instructors just don’t cue properly. I’ve seen, more than once, the battery go flat on the mic. The instructor stopped completely (while the class just continued on their own), took the battery out, put new one in and then came back to the class and resumed. The class all knew the chorrey to death (it was an attack class) so the instructor obviously didn’t need to cue.

Anyway, that’s another issue in itself. I cannot understand why I cannot keep updated in Les Mills, despite being more qualified than most of the instructors here (there is no requirement for formal fitness education here like there is in Australia, so most instructors here have done the module and that’s all), and I have all my international certificates. I would like to teach again, as soon as I can get a class in English or I learn enough Dutch to being able to teach in Dutch…….but yet I am being explicitly prohibited from going to the workshops. I absolutely do not understand the logic behind this? I can understand not allowing participants to go to the workshop, but I’m hardly a participant?

I’ve written to LMI and the Les Mills agent here about this, so I can only wait and see if anything comes of it?

I miss Les Mills classes as I knew it ­čÖü

7 thoughts on “Les Mills in The Netherlands

  1. Well, that’s sad news, Mel. I can certainly see the validity in your arguments, and hope that things turn out better for you.

    Here in the Philippines only one gym chain has licensed the LM programs, but we allow trained instructors from all over to attend the quarterlies we run. We also aren’t required the other fitness qualifications you had to get in Australia (Philippine fitness industry is not strict) but we compensate for that with continuing education from our regional LM trainers.

    The gym pays for initial training but we do pay it back with a number of classes — and we still have to purchase our own material.

  2. Yeah, mixing…

    That is more an issue of the clubs, not the instructors. I mix as soon as I can but most clubs force us to teach the chorrey for a certain time. Mostly a month or 6 weeks. But believe me I start mixing as soon as I can, because indeed as you say, I just get bored with the correy myself and obviously you’re not motivated anymore after teaching the same chorrey 100 times…

  3. Mel, keep trying. Also other gyms. Passion for LM & LM classes is more important than the language. Everybody here in The Netherlands speaks or at least understands english and with visual cues to support it should not be a problem. With teaching the classes it’ll also be easier and quicker to learn the dutch language.
    Take care and don’t give up!

  4. Thanks guy,

    Daniel you’re right, the mixing issue is down to the clubs but it’s still different from Australia. The LMI recommendation is to begin changing a couple of tracks after 2-4 weeks.

    The Achmea centre that I am at has a policy of doing the same release the entire time, and doing 2-3 weeks of “Greatest Hits” right before the launches. That is 10 weeks of the same release!

    But even though that’s the extreme it seems that most places around here go for 6-8 weeks, which I think is still too long. I have spoken to both participants and instructors and they all seem to get bored with the same release.

  5. Hi Mel
    The reason why clubs don’t mix very often has to do with the fact that an average person in the Netherlands goes to the gym 1 time a week, while people in NZ and probably also Australia go to the gym more than 4 times a week. So when you add it all up people do a release about 8 to 10 times. Ofcourse there are always people who go more often, but this is average.

  6. Hi Chantal,
    To be honest I don’t have official statiscal data on member participation in group fitness classes in each country, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t true. I have heard a few people make the comparison between the main Les Mills Auckland gym and regular gyms in the Netherlands, and I can understand there’s a huge difference there. I have been to the gym at LM-WOF, and it’s pretty awesome. 2 studios that run concurrently, plus RPM studio and a circuit/boxing type area. The time table is massive. However, the LMI mixing recommendations are not just based on this gym……..but based on regular gyms elsewhere in not just NZ and Australia, but also worldwide.

    Another point is, while LM-WOF is definately different from classes in the rest of the world, what most people don’t know is that gym once upon a time started off with a small group fitness room with a maximum of 17 people. Phillip Mills has built up to what he has now by following the Les Mills systems.

    Also, when I go to the gym here, I regularly see people that are there regularly. Of course, there are always some people that only go occasionally……..but why target the classes towards them? Why does LM in NL think we should be encouraging people to only go to the gym once per week? If I was a gym manager I want to encourage people to go 3-5 time per week. If I was a gym manager I would want to use my group fitness classes to improve retention. I would want to keep my members.

    So instead, LM in NL are catering for people who only go occasionally. There is no sense in this. They discourage people who might want to go more often……….and I am one of those. This really goes against business sense!

  7. It’s just an average and ofcourse there are a bunch of people who go more often to the gym. I don’t think it’s good when a gym discourages people. They should stimulate people to go more often, I defenitely agree on that one. And if instructors would like to do mixes, I wouldn’t mind, as long as they stick to the choreo as it’s meant to be, as that still is the foundation of all LM programs. I used to mix after 5 or 6 weeks, no problems at my gym with that. The 8 weeks is not my personal opinion, but facts and figures gyms here use. If an instructor is capable of mixing and knowing his/her choreo, sure give it a go, but make sure you advise your members about correct weights and track focuses. And I don’t know if everyone is capable of that…..unfortunately…….
    I still think you should give it a try at more gyms to teach. LM is your passion and it’s too bad you’re not able to do something with that at this moment.

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