New Website Launch

New website at groupfitness.ogFinally I have finished the design of the new site layout for groupfitness.org! It has had a complete overhaul, and it is now a complete website with the forum integrated. This is project I have wanted to complete for years, but only now has it become possible.

We have organised the design of this site to make it possible to deliver to you new and interesting information about the group fitness industry. We will target this information for not just participants looking for information about exercise, but also for Group Fitness Managers and Club Managers around the world. This will include articles on things like:

  • How to become a better instructor?
  • Designing a group fitness timetable for your club
  • Exercise techniques

We are currently working on bringing you online shopping, with fitness products and Les Mills gear.
Ultimately we will be fully integrating Totally Les Mills into this new website and we are currently working on a new tracklist design with new exciting features.

I really want to thank a person who has gone by largely unrecognised for his contribution into the site……..my husband, Alexander. It is Alexander who motivated me and inspired me and at times when I had problems I couldn’t solve he helped me solve them. He had a very major input into the design of the logo and the overall design of the site. Basically, I put forth suggestions and he approved/disapproved them. I guess he’s my design manager…..lol. 🙂

optical communicationCheck out the new design, courtesy of Mel and Alexander 🙂

my first php script – dynamically rotating images

I’m proud of myself yesterday afternoon I wrote my first ever tiny php script. I’ve done lots of editing of php, since all the forum software and CMS’s use php, and I’ve become familiar with the syntax. However at university I learn Java and the entire course was entirely object oriented……so I struggled to get my head around a non object oriented language.

Anyway, I’ve given it a break for a while, but yesterday (with the help of Alexander who is on holidays at the moment) I returned to finishing off the new site I’ve been working on for groupfitness.org, and Alexander and I were discussing a dynamic image display (like a rotating banner, but not precisely a “banner” for our project). I’m sure it’s easy enough to find thousands of php scripts online that do just the job, but just as I was about to google for one, I said to Alexander “you know what? I should see if I can try and write one myself.” When I said that I didn’t honestly believe I could get a working banner, but Alex had done a similar little task once while trying to learn php and he’s kept telling me I should try and do the same and learn more php this way.

So, I tried it. Started off with a variable, a random number generator and wrote a simple script first that had some details hard coded. With some suggestions from Alex and not much editing, we got it to work! The idea is, that for each random image will display an image with a custom “alt” tag for each image plus a link to a website.

I ended up with this:

<?php

/* first integer is minimum and must not be changed. Second integer is number of images – 1 (ie. the size of the array) */
$random_number = rand (0 , 9);
$width = ‘156’; /*width of the images */

/* Array number must match image number image(n).jpg, ie. image0.jpg */
$image[0] = array (‘http://www.groupfitness.org’, ‘groupfitness website’);
$image[1] = array (‘#’, ‘1’);
$image[2] = array (‘#’, ‘2’);
$image[3] = array (‘#’, ‘3’);
$image[4] = array (‘#’, ‘4’);
$image[5] = array (‘#’, ‘5’);
$image[6] = array (‘#’, ‘6’);
$image[7] = array (‘#’, ‘7’);
$image[8] = array (‘#’, ‘8’);
$image[9] = array (‘#’, ‘9’);

echo ‘<a href=”‘ . $image[$random_number][0] . ‘” target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ width=”‘ . $width . ‘” src=”images/image’ . $random_number . ‘.jpg” alt=”‘ . $image[$random_number][1] . ‘” /></a>’;

?>

Now I’ve set up an array of different images. The one draw back is that everytime we add an image, we have to change the size of the random number generator and add the url and alt tag info, but it’s a simple script that will serve our purpose, and I’m really proud I wrote it myself! 🙂

I have wondered though about the two different methods I’ve used instantiating a multidimensional array. Personally I think that writing:

$image[0] = array (‘http://www.groupfitness.org’, ‘groupfitness website’);

should be identical to:

$image[0][0] = ‘http://www.groupfitness.org’;
$image[0][1] = ‘groupfitness website’;

However I’m not sure if the way I have instantiated the variable means that I have created an array, sitting inside an array, which creates the same output but could create extra overhead. Probably not applicable in such a small script as this one, but it’s just got me wondering.

I don’t know the answer, but I’m inclined to think that the way I have done it accesses the array memory space in the same way as the second example, but it’s difficult to find out the answer for sure! If there’s any php guru’s out there I’d love to know the answer to this one!

Les Mills workshop this weekend

I’m all registered for the Les Mills workshop this weekend, for pump, combat and balance. The rules are quite different here in that you have to attend all the classes you are certified for (in order to keep up your qualifications) and have to attend at least 3 out of 4 workshops. Initially I didn’t register for pump, until the GFM rang me up asking why I hadn’t. I have to at the very least sit and watch, even if I don’t intend on participating.

The thing I find very odd about this, is that initially they would not allow me to attend the workshops as an instructor (because I was not working at a gym), but then if I miss the workshops then my qualifications are technically no longer current. I really think the agent hasn’t thought things through here!

Anyway, I think it’s no problem, because my qualifications are current in Australia, at that’s all that matters at the moment.

I won’t be doing attack and vive though, because I have not submitted my video for those programs as yet (due to my pregnancy). I’m not sure what that will mean for me for those programs………maybe if we can arrange for my video to be done and then I could send it back to Australia? Will have to wait on that one, although I almost certainly won’t be teaching attack in the short term.

“Food bigger factor than exercise?”

I read this article in The Australian and I don’t like the message it sends in my opinion. The message that you shouldn’t exercise if you want to lose weight is bad. The article suggests that diet is far more important than exercise in losing weight, and that exercise is more likely to make you hungry and therefore eat more. It therefore claims that you are better off not exercising in order to lose weight.

The thing is, doing less exercise CAN lead to more obesity…….if you eat the same and do less, the maths is simple.

It is true that you cannot solely exercise to lose weight, but then none of my fitness education has ever tried to say that. As far as I know it has always been known that that when losing weight, nutrition is 70% of the equation. It is true that you get hungrier when you exercise.

BUT, this does not mean it’s healthier to lose weight via diet alone.

The benefits of exercise are many:

  • Increased metabolism
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Promotes healthier blood sugar levels to prevent or improve diabetes
  • Improved muscle tone (what good is being skinny and saggy?)
  • Feeling better (it is well known that exercise releases endorphins)
  • Boost self confidence and prevents depression
  • Improved quality of life (being stronger and better cardiovascular system means you can do more in life with less effort)
  • Promotes bone density to protect against osteoporosis
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Boosts immune system

Now I’m sure there are many benefits I may have missed…….but basically people who suggest that we should just diet and ignore exercise are encouraging people to be self obsessed about weight and actually miss the whole picture…….the whole picture which includes your overall health, not just your weight!

If people ONLY try to lose weight, they invariably fail. If people instead choose to believe in a healthy life style and stop obsessing about scales………..then these people are more likely to be sucessful in their goals!

Frustrated

I’ve been going to my Dutch course for over a month now, and while the first couple of weeks were very helpful to me, being forced to listen and try and speak in Dutch, now it’s started to go downhill for me.

What has started happening is that the organisation has decided we need 15 people in the group, but we only started with about 8. Each week, we are having an extra person added and that means we end up going over old stuff. They are supposed to “catch up” but unfortunately it just happens that we still review stuff.

Now normally this wouldn’t be such a problem, but for me the course is already going at such a slow rate that I’m going nuts. We have so far learnt stuff like:

  • Hoe gaat het met jou?
  • Waar woon je?
  • What is je naam?
  • Hoe laat is het?
  • This are simple sentences and we’ve also learnt a few grammar rules……….BUT, we spend an hour on a rule that I understand within 5 mins.

    So there are two problems that I’m having, 1) the course is going too slow for me, or rather….the content is too simple, and 2) more people are being added to the group, hence slowing it down further.

    Now with point number one, I risk offending people with my further explanation, so I will attempt to explain without saying anything racist or condescending. Back when I first did my test to see what my current level of Dutch and education is, I was asked to bring in my certificates and university degrees. I thought that this meant I would be alloted into a group that was similar to my level…….not just my level of Dutch, but my level of education also. 

    Now in reality, that test I did seems to have made no difference………or otherwise they think I’m really stupid. To explain, I will demonstrate by pointing out the people I’ve been grouped with.

    • Some who have absolutely no schooling in their native countries……i don’t know how many
    • At least one lady who has done just 2 years of schooling in her whole life
    • Two men who have already lived in The Netherlands for 30 years and 21 years, but speak with very poor grammar and poor understanding of the language
    • Others that have already lived here around 5-6 years

    To avoid getting in trouble I have omitted to mention what countries they are from, but there is one guy in the group that possibly due to his culture, appears to have little respect for having a female teacher and doesn’t appear to show much interest in learning Dutch. He is fairly new to the group, so maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but this is my observations so far.

    So basically, I’m REALLY with the wrong people. I think we have about 12 people in the group now, and there are 3 or maybe 4 of us that I think should be taught seperately. Don’t get me wrong, most of them are lovely people………in fact, I really like ALL of them (except the guy that appears to be disrespectful). But I think it’s a problem when the teacher has to teach people HOW to tell the time on an analog clock, not just teach people Dutch.

    I have spoken to the teacher about this, and for now she has replaced one of my lessons each week with a personal coach, since my problem is not struggling to understand grammer, but rather my problem is just learning to speak and listen to Dutch and broadening my vocabulary. So this is a small improvement. I’ve met her and she’s a really lovely lady……..a volunteer studying at university. I’m going to see her every Friday and she’s going to help me by just chatting in Dutch and helping me try to read news articles and stuff. So we’ll have to see how this goes over the next few weeks?