Introduction to Dutch course

I attended my intro to my Dutch learning course today. The one ironic thing about it is the letter to invite me to the intro (to learn Dutch) was in Dutch. Go figure. But lucky of course Alexander can translate for me.

When I attended they spoke almost completely in Dutch, although the teacher did clarify things in English for me occasionally. I struggled to follow along and it turned out that most of the group have been in the country for years………some 4 years or more. They could already speak Dutch and communicate, but their Dutch just wasn’t good enough for them to get Dutch citizenship, hence they were doing the course to better their Dutch. I think there was only 1 other person that was in the same predicament as me and knew very little Dutch.

Later we were paired with another person, and we had to ask each other questions on a list, which luckily I understood most of them. We had to answer in Dutch and then tell the group about the other person. As far as I know I was the only English speaking person in the group, so there was no cheating possible. Most of them were Turkish…….I think there was a Chinese lady and I can’t remember the rest.

I didn’t feel terribly comfortable, but the lessons commence next Monday in the evenings, and apparently that group is more at my level, so I’ll learn faster that way. It’s going to be difficult, cuz with the evening routine with Connor and gym stuff etc, I would find during the day much better (assuming child care can be arranged). However apparently the morning group is a more advanced level for me and may be too difficult, meaning it will be harder for me to pick things up.

So in the meantime I’m going to start with the night group for a few weeks and see if I can get childcare to get into the morning group. Perhaps by that stage my Dutch may have advanced a bit so that it’ll be easier for me to follow along in the morning group. The teacher felt that it would probably take me 3 months to get to that level, but we’ll have to see because if I get the opportunity to teach gym classes I would really like to keep the evenings open.

Anyway, in the meantime I’m going to do a bit more revision of my Dutch book (which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t studied in the last few weeks, being sick and all).

Another social networking site

While I really didn’t want to join ANOTHER social networking site, I have joined this new one for a reason. The few Dutch people I know here are all on a Dutch site called Hyves, which is basically the same as myspace, but in Dutch.

My aim in joining this site is to try and help me learn Dutch. At the moment I need Alexanders help to actually write anything, and to interpret anything that anyone writes to me, but I can only hope it will get better.

So if there are any Dutchies reading my blog, please feel free to add me as a friend and help me with simple Dutch sentences while I struggle to learn this very difficult language!

My Hyves profile: http://misfitmel.hyves.nl/

Been sick…….again

I started coming down sick on Saturday, just felt a bit off colour, and the following days I ended up sicker than I ever remember in my life.

First I remember on Saturday not going shopping with Alexander because I thought it would be better to rest cuz I was so tired. It wasn’t until Sunday night that I went really down hill, and I won’t go into details but I had a terrible night. I lost 2kg just overnight (not a good weight loss obviously).

Most of Monday I was pretty off colour although feeling much better than the night before. But then Alexander started coming down with what I had. Monday night I spent most of the night being there for him, even though I wasn’t totally recovered yet. So I’m feeling pretty tired at the moment, although I’m on the mend.

This meant that Monday night I missed out on the Les Mills launches…….again! I haven’t even been to a launch at the gym here yet. Seems I’m sick every time they have one.

Something really doesn’t seem to want me to get back into Les Mills stuff at the moment….

BODYBALANCE 42

Although I was still pretty sore from my debut back to pump, I still went to balance last night thinking it would probably help stretch me out and make me feel better. Although it’s supposed to be “Greatest Hits” at the moment, the balance instructor was filming her certifcation video so we did the current release again, which, although I was looking forward to a mix at least this release is a nice release. Although I didn’t actually understand any of the Dutch I gathered most of all this from the video camera that was set up in the room ­čÖé

Since I haven’t written any reviews about the Les Mills releases for a while now, this prompted me to start with this release. I think this release is far better than BB41 which I didn’t really enjoy at all. That may be due to the fact I had just had a baby and had commenced classes in a strange country in a strange language (and struggling physically at the same time), but that I’ll never really know.

  1. Beautiful tai chi, love the music on this track. 
  2. Sun sals – this is the most incredible “difference” I’ve seen in the sun sals since I ever started balance on release 18. Sun sals used to always just be 4 reps of basically the same thing. Jackie is starting to find ways to make each sun sals unique now.
  3. This track is ok, but I’m not sure about the way it’s choreographed for participants to face away from the instructor. I’m sure this shouldn’t be too hard to coach, but I’ve seen instructors here struggling to get participants to face the correct way. Probably Jackie trying to do something different here, but unnecessary in my opinion.
  4. Nice relaxing balance track, beautiful song, but not really standout chorrey for me. Maybe I’m spending too much of my time trying to actually balance, lol.
  5. I always love Delerium in┬áBODYBALANCE and this track is no exception. I love the extra touch that has been choreographed into the swan pose. I find the twist thing you do in swan pose quite difficult though……….I’m curious to know how this would have felt pre-baby?
  6. I’ve really found myself improve in this track from when this release first started (nearly 3 months ago) to now. When I first did BB42 I had to do all the options in this track. Now I’m finding that I can do all the advanced options, even though I do find it quite a challenge to keep my spine and hips stable. But still, I feel proud of that progress. Music in this track is “ok”. Not a standout track for me, but not a hated one either.
  7. I usually have mixed feelings about Moby tracks, some I like, some I dislike………but this one I definately love. The chorrey is relatively simple, but this is good because it means it’s mostly achievable for me at the moment. I love the back release where you are in pointer and then you reach back and take hold of your foot. I only wish we held this pose longer, it feels so good!
  8. This track doesn’t impress me much. Not a standout song and the chorrey makes complicated work of basic moves. It also feels like one side of the stretch is held much longer than the other side in the lying twists. I haven’t actually studied the chorrey at all, so I don’t know if it is choreographed this way, or if the instructors here are teaching it wrong, or I’m just feeling things funny.
  9. When this track first starts I immediately think of the remixed version of Centre of the Sun, alas same artist but not the same song. I thought I wouldn’t like this song, Sleep, reused as I got a bit sick of the previous version……but this track is a good enough remix that I really enjoy the song and the relaxing stretch.
  10. I honestly remember very little of these meditation tracks. I guess they must be doing their job then ­čÖé

BODYPUMP Greatist Hits

OK, so I managed to make myself go to pump tonight. I haven’t done pump for a while because of my back pain as well as my heal problems which gives me excrutiating pain in the lunges. But Alex helped massage out the problem bits yesterday so I thought I’d give it a go.

I couldn’t believe it, how after all the things I’ve been feeling terrible about, and I get to this class and it starts with my most hated worst ever pump release I’ve ever done, lol. But it didn’t end up being so bad.

Since it’s now the 2 weeks prior to the launch this is the “Greatest Hits weeks” which we get for 2 weeks at this gym. So tonight they did:

  1. Back to Basics BP55
  2. You are all of that BP55
  3. Sweetest Poison BP55
  4. Everytime we touch (I’m glad they switched away from BP55 at this point! lol)
  5. Wind it up
  6. Flaunt it
  7. Listen to your heart BP68  (preview of the new release)
  8. One night in bangkock BP60 (at least I think so………mind was getting blurry for the next 3 tracks)
  9. Hips don’t lie BP60
  10. So far away BP60

I nearly wasn’t going to go to the class, and just say home and do balance in my lounge room instead. But at the last minute Alexander managed to renew my motivation to go to the gym. I ended up nearly late for the class, so I when I arrived at the gym I┬ápeeled off my many layers of clothing as quick as I could (it is getting cold here!), dashed into the class (which hadn’t yet started), forgetting my ticket and setting up at the back of the class.

When I first heard Back to Basics start I did an internal groan, but then all my focus was totally on trying to engage the right muscles, keep my knees soft and protect my back (which is REALLY hard work at the moment, let me tell you!). The one thing i didn’t want to do is make my back worse just by being a bit lax.

By the end of the squat track (which I was praying for it to end) my heart was hammering in my chest. It reminded me of how much pump can also be a cardio workout! As I crouched down to change my weights for the chest track, my legs could hardly support my weight.

I kept my weights pretty low for the back track, because I knew my core hard already worked too hard during squats, and then going into the tricep track I was going to leave my weights the same (which were baby weights anyway and only a fraction of the weight I used to use last year). When the song started I heard it was Wind It Up, which is one of the toughest tricep tracks with a very long series of tricep extensions. Since my elbow started having problems last time I did pump, I immediately took some of the weight off my bar.

For lunges we got the preview of the new release. It’s interesting what they’ve done with lunges this time around. They’ve actually put “front squats” in the second half of the track. I think this is an interesting innovation and reminds me a lot of the changes I’ve heard going on in BTS in America. The only problem I had with this track is that the bar actually hurt where it rested on my arms and my shoulders got fatigued very quickly.

My weights were pretty on the light side, but I was shaking at the end of each track so it’ll be interesting to see how I pull up tomorrow? ­čÖé

Feeling a bit more positive

I’ve had some great replies on the below topic on the post I made on the forum, and people have given some really great advice. I was a PT so I know what I need to do to get myself back into shape again. The only thing is, that even Personal Trainers need a Personal Trainer. The knowledge is there, but not necessarily the motivation. A PT’s job is to extract from you the things you can’t do by yourself (otherwise PT’s wouldn’t have a job!).

So, if I could I think I would get myself a PT right now, however Personal Training isn’t something that really exists here in The Netherlands…….or at least Apeldoorn. So I will have to attempt to work through it myself.

One of the things I would like to start with is maintaining my blog with much more Les Mills topics again, writing about the latest releases etc. Maybe I can help get my passion back by focusing again on the things I used to love. ­čÖé

I have started with updating totallylesmills.com with the latest tracklists for the upcoming releases. I still get emails all the time through that site for updates on the tracklists and information. Eventually I will be rebuilding the design of that site to make it more user friendly and also use a database that will make it easier for me to maintain!

Uninspired, unmotivated and struggling

I wrote this post on groupfitness.org┬ábut I thought I’d also include it here.

Some of you may know that over a year ago I fell pregnant with my now 7 month old son. At that point I was at the peak of my fitness. I struggled for 4 years to get my weight down to 72kg, which is awesome for my height and build. I was for the first time since I was 18 finally happy with my body. You can read┬áabout my story for what it took me to get there…..and my recovery from back injury and a broken leg etc.

Before I got pregnant I was teaching attack, pump, balance and combat………doing 13 classes or so per week, even teaching a BP/BA/BB triple on Saturday mornings which I continued to do until around 16 weeks pregnant. I taught combat until 33 weeks, and balance and pump till 39 weeks. I did my last class 1 week before I gave birth (I had to stop the last week, cuz I had 6 days of pre-labour contractions!).
Following the birth I was given permission to resume the level of exercise I had been doing while pregnant, so I quietly continued balance and pump and started combat at a very low level. Everything was going fine and then 7 weeks after the birth I moved back to the Netherlands with my husband Alexander. Since then it’s been a series of struggles and disappointments.

First disappointment was that the Les Mills agent here wouldn’t let me go to the workshops, despite having my international certificates. Apparently I must be working for a gym before I can be permitted to go to the workshops. I think this is a ridiculously decision because I’m fully qualified and it means that I’m not able to keep my skills updated while I am not teaching classes. I have written to the LM agent and also written to Phillip Mills (as well as about other issues with the LM system here), but apart from a reply from Phillip that he forwarded my email on, I haven’t really had a reply yet addressing these issues.

The second disappointment is that I haven’t been able to get classes at the local gym here. The gym seems to be riddled with politics, and despite my qualifications and experience it seems you need to be best friends with the managers cousin’s wife’s bestfriend……..if you get my drift. Their answer to me is that I cannot teach unless I speak Dutch, but I although I’m trying to learn the language I’m far from fluent in it. I have offered to just be a fill in instructor instead of a permenant instructor……….but I really think it’s because I’m not the manager’s cousin’s wife’s bestfriend. I have even partipated in classes where they’ve had to replace it with something else, and yet they still wouldn’t let me teach despite the other participants excited and wanting “an aussie” to take the class.

The third disappointment is due to the bad timetable with little options, I made the mistake of trying attack, even at a low impact level, too early after I got here to the Netherlands. It was about 3 months after the birth of my son, but shortly after I started trying attack I ended up with so much tightness and problems/injuries with my back/achillies/hip/shoulder that it’s reduced me to hardly doing any classes except the occasional balance or combat. I find it difficult not knowing how to source good medical support in a strange country and a foreign language.

The fourth disappointing thing is that I was left with 18 extra kilos after giving birth to Connor. I’ve managed to drop 5kg’s since then so I’m now hovering around 85-86kg, which is the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. However I fear those 5 kg’s are probably mainly muscle tissue due to the decrease in pump and exercise. I think the extra weight doesn’t help my injuries much either. Breastfeeding is rumoured to help lose the extra weight, but this isn’t true in all cases. While breastfeeding you get more tired and absolutely ravenous most of the time. It doesn’t help the posture much either and exacerbates my back problems.

I’m starting to improve a little with the help of Alexander massaging the problem areas, but I’ve found myself losing so much motivation after being so disappointed that I’m now in a difficult place. I’m dealing with a new role as a mum, missing my friends from back home, hating the cold weather here and not able to fully continue my LM passion which is the one thing of my old life that could help keep me sane. I’m virtually a housebound mum which is foreign for me being someone that really needs people around me. I’ve even kinda drifted away from the forum a bit, which people may have noticed………although I’m still working on the site behind the scenes I promise ­čśë

I have spoken to some others who have been through having a baby and understand the struggles and they have been very supportive. But since I’m struggling at the moment to even drag myself to the gym i thought it might help writing about it here. It’s hard because I barely even find the classes enjoyable anymore…….particularly because the quality of some of the instructors are questionable. One of the step instructors is brilliant, but I tried step again the other day, but I had to leave the class after track 4 due to the back pain. Luckily I can still do my two fav classes, balance and combat……..but there’s only 1 combat per week on the timetable and I have to fight Alexander for it (or find a baby sitter) ­čÖé

So that’s where I am now. I’d be ashamed for any of my participants back in Adelaide to see me at the moment. ­čÖü