Chiro

My chiro is amazing. There’s just nobody like him, I just have to say it. You’d think a knee injury would have nothing to do with my back, but after seeing my chiro and getting my hips straightened out again (it’s a process over a few weeks to get back to normal) my knee suddenly stops hurting. He also fixed up an ankle problem I’ve been having since I left Australia. I’ve had a muscle that was tight and sore down the front of the shin and if I ever tried to run or do any sort of impact, my heel would hurt. So while I was getting my treatment from the chiro, I asked him to have a look at my ankle. A very painful adjustment, but it feels MUCH better and I look forward to being able to do more impact again.

Yep my chiro is magic. I’ve seen a few now and none are like him.

First balance class back in Oz

I have finally just taught my first class back in Australia! It was so totally amazing to be on stage again and it was even better being able to be open and just freely be me. Where I felt I was a little shy in the Netherlands, I witnessed some of the crazy funness returning….and it felt good.

I started off with introducing myself to the peeps, said I’ve just returned from overseas. The class I was filling in was a chi-ball class, but chi-ball is difficult to find instructors. So all going well this would be replaced with balance.

One thing I totally did NOT expect, was to have any troubles reverting to teaching in English. I thought it would be natural, but low and behold, I found myself tongue tied and having to resist the urges to say things in Dutch! What the …? How can that be possible? Shortly into the intro I accidently said something in Dutch and quickly explained that I’ve been teaching in Dutch for the last 12 months. What was even more amusing was there was a Dutch lady in the class who was still 100% fluent in the language. So she was certainly amused at my little slips into Dutch, haha.

I found it weird too cuz I found myself translating Dutch phrases into English and they sound really plain and bland. I was trying to think “what did I used to say here?” ugh. I’m sure in a few classes those urges to say Dutch things will totally disappear. I know it took a good few weeks to get rid of doing U-turns the wrong way round while driving, haha 🙂

Injured Knee

I’ve started getting much more motivated to get back into fitness since getting back to Oz, and since finding a wonderful park down the road Alex and I regularly take Connor down there to play and I do some mini fitness sessions for myself. I’ve been getting motivated to do intervals, jogging up the hill and walking down, lunges and a few pushups and stuff on the benches etc. I think I’m getting inspired to start doing some private PT outdoor sessions again like I did when I was pregnant. At least, I would be able to do some of these while the weather holds out. So in the meantime I’m getting all my paperwork together to register and insure again with Fitness Australia again, and once that is done I may start taking on clients on a casual basic, possibly in a child friendly atmosphere but that idea I need to explore.

Alex and I have even decided to program a fitness schedule to make it to the City To Bay fun run in October this year. I was 5 weeks pregnant when I did the last one in 2007, and before I decided to actually move to the Netherlands it had been my plan to get fit again for the next one in 2008. That never happened of course, and after suffering from falls on the stairs and bad medical care, I never really got back again. Now I’m back with my trusty chiro again and progress is now ready to go up!

The only downside is, with all that extra motivation I got a bit hyper while mucking around with Alex and did some plyo lunges on the concrete. Sigh, I guess it’s hard to face the fact that my body must take it slowly, and I have injured my knee. Will see how it goes, but I’m supposed to be teaching my first balance fill in since getting back in Australia on Thursday. So ice and rest it is in the meantime.

Back in Oz

So I’m finally back. I’m adjusting to the warmer weather and loving the sun on my face and the vitamin D. The warm nights, the cool summer breezes and getting back into socialising with my friends. Some things have changed, some things have stayed the same.

I’m currently getting my fitness qualifications back in order. My registration has lapsed and so of course I need 18 CEC points for the last 2 years. I thought this was going to be diffcult and that I’d have to pay for some new courses, but alas, I can get points for the last 3 Les Mills programs by doing the questionares online. 2 points per program, 3 releases for each program and I teach 5 programs. If I had all the chorrey for all those that would equal 30 CEC points! But at the moment I only have 6 releases that I can do the questionares for, so that’s 12 points, and I’ve ordered the latest releases for combat, pump and balance, so that’s another 6 points….easy. 🙂

I’ve made contact with a couple of gyms, and it’s looking promising to get some classes or fillins maybe. I probably won’t go into fitness full time, although I’m unsure. I’m searching for web design jobs at the same time, and if I don’t get a job before Alex does, then I’ll remain part time and stay a mum. Once I get my fitness registration back in order I plan to Personal Training sessions again from home, since we have some great facilities around here for outdoor training (like I did when I was pregnant). This may or may not be on a casual basis, again depends on how things go.

Last class in The Netherlands

After a lot of snow last night I hoped that my car wouldn’t be “snowed in” so I could still teach my last balance class at Achmea Epe. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad and the snow was still light and fluffy in the carpark, and cleared on the roads. Getting the snow off my windscreen wasn’t too hard, but the snow flying off my bonnet onto my windscreen was really annoying! Sometimes you can’t really see the curb either when driving through snow, and you just follow the other tracks, lol. In Epe, the carparks were full and I had to park over the curb bit, and I didn’t barely notice the bump.

The class was great and despite the snow lots of people showed up! But the biggest surprise of all was a bunch of flowers to bid me a lovely fairwell. This is a MAJOR contrast to how the other gym in Apeldoorn treated me (or rather, I should specify particular members of management)! It was really sweet gesture and made me happy to feel a little bit appreciated, especially after the really tough time I’ve had in the Netherlands. It gives me a nice memory to take back with me.

I taught the same “Aussie mix” that I posted in an earlier blog entry, and I’ve been surprised to hear that some Dutchies have actually heard of Natalie Imbruglia. Of course everyone knows INXS, but doing God’s Top 10 for standing strength surprised some of their legs, lol!

Well now that’s my last class in the bag, and let’s hope I can pick up a couple of nice classes back in Adelaide. I don’t want to push it too much until I sort out my back issues a bit, but wanna get at least a couple of balance classes somewhere!

Aussie Mix

When I first started announcing to participants that I was going, I planned on doing an “aussie mix” for them, but then with the Apeldoorn gym ditching me over a technicality with a contract that doesn’t, as far as I know, appear to exist, I wasn’t sure if I’d get a chance to say goodbye to all the participants with an aussie mix of songs.

But last night I got a message from Epe asking if I could teach this week. Apparently the instructor they had to replace me has heart troubles and ended up in hospital. So I quickly tried to whip up some Aussie tracks but didn’t quite have time to learn all of them.

So this is what I ended up with:

1. Silver BB18 (no aussie songs for this one)
2. We’re all beautiful BB21 (Didn’t have the video for Goodnight Moon in my ipod and had no time to get out the DVD)
3. God’s Top 10 BB34 (ALWAYS know the chorrey for this one and it’s a standing strength classic)
4. All for believing (BB30)
5. Shiver (thanks for this one Pam, love the track and it’s easy chorrey to remember)
6. Family Affair BB22 (haven’t done this one in ages and no aussie ab tracks)
7. The Rising BB22 (just followed on from the same release for the ab track. Had planned Counting down the days, but didn’t have time to go over the chorrey)
8. No Ordinary Thing
9. Veni Redemptor Gentium BB22 (was going to do Bathe in the river, but during the class wasn’t confident I knew the chorrey well enough, so I pulled out this old classic at the last minute)
10. Evenstar BB21
11. Song From A Secret Garden (Songs are used in Lord of the Rings, which is filmed in NZ, so it kinda fits )

The participants really liked this mix and it got a huge reaction after the class, especially because they’re not used to much mixing. In particular "Silver" got a huge reaction immediately after the track, with participants responding with "heerlijk"……….which is a pretty huge compliment in Dutch  🙂

Not taking it so well…

Well ever since I gave my notice at the gyms I work at, it hasn’t gone so well. I found out at the gym I teach in Apeldoorn that the months notice I give is supposed to be a CALENDAR month. I’ve never ever heard of this, and I thought if I gave my notice on 9th December, this would mean I would work till 9th January. But it’s no so, I’m apparently supposed to give notice on the 1st, so this would mean I am supposed to work till 31st January.

Since we’re only talking about 1 balance class, I asked to negotiate. I teach 2 classes at this gym, but the other is a team teach, so there’s no problem with having an instructor for the other class. So this is just one, 1 hour class on Friday mornings which they pay me peanuts for. I was told they “would get back to me”. I asked them to get back to me urgently since I was about to book flights and cancel stuff etc……most of the processes in fact were already underway, Alex had already quit his job for 31st Dec and we were about to finalise the shipping for 4th January. In the meantime I searched for my contract where it said a “calendar months notice” and I didn’t appear to have one.

So, when they didn’t get back to me, I had to go ahead a book flights before they became unavailable, it already cost me extra for delaying so long and I’ve paid pretty expensive flights. The GFM in the meantime went off on holidays and told NOBODY that I was in fact leaving. When she got back, I got told that she wasn’t able to do anything, therefore I had to work till 31st January. I nicely explained that this wouldn’t be possible to mess up my plans for one gym class and asked for a copy of my contract. The next day I was told that my employment was terminated immediately.

I don’t get this? I have a strong suspicion that they haven’t properly inducted me into my employment and that this contract doesn’t exist, so they only have themselves to blame for not informing me properly of the procedures. I was perfectly willing to help out until I left, but instead they’ve totally cut me off. It’s not loss to me, since I never did it ever for the money……I did it cuz I love Les Mills. So it’s their loss if they cannot fill the classes in in the meantime.

The other gym I teach at in Epe is a slightly different scenario and they seem pretty cool about it. I have a zero hour contract, which is basically the casual employment that aussie instructors are used to. So I can resign whenever, but I still gave them a months notice to find someone and I’m willing to stop teaching as soon as they get an instructor. In yesterdays class they were trying out a new instructor, so last week might have been my last class until I get back to Oz!

Returning to Australia

Well it’s official, as I announced on Facebook last week, we are returning to Australia to live permanently. I’ve been really needing this and desperate to return home to be with my friends and family again. The culture here in the Netherlands just isn’t for me. I’ve given it a go, I’ve tried it, but I cannot stay because I know I will be miserable here.

I like the food. I like partially the “no sueing” mentality. There’s still a large sense of people having to be responsible for themselves. I like the 120km speed limit and the police not being quite so obsessed about it if you’re 6.3km over the speed limit. I like not having to water the garden (not that I have one). I like the drinking water.

But the things that make it unable for me to cope here is the constant grey cloud that hangs over the place. I don’t like the sense of being cramped and overpopulated. The fact that most of summer isn’t a whole lot warmer than the aussie winter. The fact that it takes around 2-5 years to become close enough to someone to call them a “friend”. I don’t like the sometimes horrendous speeds on the freeways and the lack of regard for the law. Or the really poor medical system at “base level”……. the “huisarts”. I don’t like the obsession with really strict policies when it just doesn’t, or shouldn’t matter…..but then when it does matter there is a complete lack of regard, ie. security in childcare centres.

It’s difficult to list everything, but there’s no need to. I’m going home, that’s all that matters 🙂

I’m getting really nervous now though about all the relocation stuff. Cancelling things isn’t just quite so straight forward here. They want to bind you in for life, and you’re not supposed to move house or die, let alone move countries. But hopefully we’ll get there. Getting pressed for time since it’s less than 1 month now. It’s going to be difficult to give the required notice for all the official departments such as childcare, apartment, phones, cable etc etc.

 

Quarterly workshop at Vleuten

Quarterlies time again and this time around (cuz of the megaquartaal) the workshops were only at Vleuten and Veldhoven, which are locations both WAY too far for me to drive on my own. Thankfully, I was able to get a lift with John and so I went to the Vleuten workshop yesterday.

This is by far the best workshop I’ve had yet. Last workshops I was sick, and the one’s before that I didn’t know ANYBODY, and the few people I did know weren’t interested in talking to me at all. But this time around I got to socialise a little bit, met some people, Robert (Sigma) turned up to chat to us and I talked John’s ear off aswell of course. I didn’t know if I’d be able to handle doing all three programs in one day, but I decided to give it a go.

BODYPUMP 72 was first up. I remember a few really nice tracks, but it was all a blur. I cringed at the dips, remembered reading about them on the forum, but while they were hard they were DOABLE. So it proves I’m definately getting stronger and fitter. One of the presenters I started noticing his Dutch sounded like he had a different accent, and I threw in just a few more English phrases than the average Dutchie. I asked him after the class and it turned out he is Spanish/English, raised bi-lingual in Amercia. I always like meeting other non-Dutchies and hearing about them learning the language etc.

BODYCOMBAT 42 was straight after pump. Very tired from pump I pushed myself threw it, however, it was very difficult to do any move properly as the floor became very slippery. I don’t have a problem with the heat in the room, but it was totally crazy that they shut all the doors, had no ventilation, no fans, room full of people on a basketball court. The drips of sweat from people you could move around on the floor to avoid those slippery bits, but what you couldn’t avoid was the air became so moist that it was like it was raining, and the entire floor was slippery. I saw several instructors slipping when just doing a normal shuffle, so I reduced my moves because one wrong slip could still put my back out and prevent me from doing combat for another 6 months. I don’t want that again! What I can’t believe, is it took them 4 classes in that hall to realise you need some sort of air flow in fitness classes, duh. Anyway, despite combat being marred by the terrible conditions, this is an AMAZING RELEASE. I think this will be the best release ever since BC33 for me. Track 2 is just awesome. Track 6 is getting complicated (is combat getting too difficult for newbies?) but I LOVE it. The Muay Thai is Excaliber, which when I saw the tracklist I thought I’d hate it, but Dan & Rach have definately scored with this one! It’s also the first time I feel that the Street Brawl Downward Punch actually works, ever since it was first used in BC27. It’s just never felt right again since that first time, till now.

Following combat I had a bit of a break, and enjoyed the afternoon chatting with Robert and John. BODYBALANCE 47 was eventually up, and cuz I was so tired I don’t remember much of it, but the tai chi really stood out to me. The music was beautiful. I’m not sure I’m happy about the resuse of “Halo” from the last combat cooldown, but that’s only cuz we cannot mix releases here till the last 2-3 weeks, so the music kinda gets overdone.

During the education session of BODYBALANCE, I was really pleased that I could follow a lot of the Dutch, enough that I mainly could tell what the session was about. Overall it was about using directional cues and telling people HOW to get into poses instead of just naming the pose ie. Instead of saying “warrior 2”, say “step your feet wide and turn your feet right….” etc. Then there was an interactive part, where various instructors were asked to say the next directional cue. Trainer was on stage, other trainer was walking the room and we were setting up Warrior 1. The trainer on the floor walks to an instructor and asks for the first set up, “bend your front knee”. Good, he’s happy, next person. In an entire room of instructors, who would have thought that he would have picked the poor aussie girl with a minimal grasp of Dutch. I saw him coming to me and it was just like “oh no”.

What are the odds huh?

Press play and go

Since I became a Les Mills instructor, the classes have always been pretty much Press Play and Go philosophy. Anything really important we might stop briefly to give a quick explanation before the class, but otherwise for the participants it’s a learn as you go philosophy. Generally in Australia there’s so much mixing aswell that participants get used to that nasty thing called “change”.

I’m beginning to discover here in the Netherlands that “change” is a really scary proposition. Aside from the fact that there’s not as much mixing (this is the not issue I’m discussing today), but participants really think that to get the most out of a class they need to know what’s coming up next. This is of course partially true, and is indeed one of the major benefits out of prechoreography. However, I believe that this benefit is more about making instructors BETTER (choreography is only 1 of the 5 key elements) rather than the prechoreography being all about the participants learning the chorrey. It’s to enable the instructors to deliver better classes.

That said, this morning I had a participant give me some feedback on the new release of bodybalance. They felt it a bit confusing that I didn’t stop and explain many of the tracks. Usually when a new release would come out, their previous instructors would drop a track so they could spend more time practising the moves to come up.

I listened to her and thanked her for her feedback. But I also went on to explain that part of it is because they are not used to my teaching style, and told her that there are also benefits to learning to listen, look and do all at the same time. This is a skill which actually has been proven to boost memory and can help reduce the chances of dementia in later life. So while they may feel a bit out of their comfort zone, may struggle a bit with the tai chi, or wobble more in the balance track………all these things are increasing their skills in other areas, even if it’s not strictly helping them get the best physical stretch at that moment. Coordination and proprioception are also very extremely valuable skills as well as strength and flexibility.

Do we sometimes lose sight of this in the effort to coach participants through the basic moves in a class?

I vote “yes” for Press Play and Go

3 months

OMG it’s been nearly 3 months since I posted on my blog! Before I married my husband one of my biggest blog fans was………my husband. If I didn’t write on it for a few days I soon heard about it from him, so that really motivated me to keep writing. But now, being a mother, stuck in the chores of daily life, plus the diversions of Facebook etc……….I’ve let this blog slide a bit 🙁

I have no idea if anyone is actually still reading here, but I did want to keep up to date with all the happening here………such as Les Mills launches, my progress with teaching in the Netherlands, update on the development of the websites. Only just so many hours in the day huh?

So summaries very BRIEFLY over the last few months……..I’ve been teaching more classes, filled in vive and pilates classes, now have a permanent combat class (at a really crappy timeslot though), just started teaching a permanent pump class aswell (forgot how much I missed pump, but DAMN am I weak and out of shape…..got some work to do there), got really sick for weeks and got pneumonia, had visit from parents in The Netherlands (and were lucky enough to have 2 weeks of the best weather we’ve had all year).

So summer has come and gone and I’m not really sure it arrived at all. We did get a couple of days around 35C which surprised me into a pair of shorts, but sure enough, it disappeared fast and the rain and cloud returned. The temperature is rapidly plummeting to subzero temps (overnight) and during the day 6-10C is getting really cold………..and it’s only autumn.

We recently just had launches for all the Les Mills programs. I launched combat which was combined with attack into a 45 min class. I presented track 6, which was a pretty easy track to learn. Balance was at the same time in another room, so I didn’t get to launch that one.

The new releases are so far, pretty good………..although I’m still a bit over this doing-the-same-release-for-2-months thing………tends to make ANY good release boring after a while.

Dare to combat

I finally went back to combat last night following the dreaded “sneeze”. The strain in my SI joint seemed to take it fine and I’m finally on the mend again and can start to build strength and fitness again.

In the meantime I’ve been doing a lot of vive, pilates and balance fill ins, and the extra glute stretching and strengthing has really helped a lot. I’m pretty sure the key now to getting back the strength I had is to work on my glutes, which have become tight, hard and weak. The pilates classes have made me hardly be able to do the hamstring curls in bodyvive, lol………so lots of glute stuff going on.

The thing is, I’ve been doing balance so long that teaching “active” classes has reminded me about the “fun” active side of teaching. So the slightly crazy side is coming back out. Which means, last night after doing combat first, in my balance class there was a thunder storm (and being in an upstairs fitness room with 3 sides of glass windows it was pretty awesome) so Sun Warrior became “Thunder Warrior”. In a previous vive class, the pose in the cooldown where you roll onto your side over your arm, that pose felt so “delicious” that I now call it “de lekker bevaging” (the delicious move……I expect it sounds funnier in Dutch). Well hey, since it doesn’t have a name, I had to make one up!

But as for my first class back to combat, it was awesome to do combat again! First time I did the entire release of BC40 and it’s not a bad release. I love track 3………SPEEDBALL…….the music really motivates me in that track and my shoulders are CAINING me this morning. Track 7 I think really doesn’t work. I know some people have that kind of music taste, and personally I’m pretty open to many different music types, but the choreography in this track really doesn’t work with the song, meaning for some people this is just going to be a rough song with some poor moves thrown in.

Need to do this release a few more times to get a better feel for it though.

 

BODYVIVE

With most people going on holidays at the moment (it’s the summer vacation period here), it means I’m doing a few extra fill ins, and today I did my first vive fill in. I haven’t done a lot of vive since I did my training on BV4, but I’ve noticed while the music seems a bit cooler, the difficulty in the choreography hasn’t changed.

I don’t get why this program has such difficult and unintuitive choreography? I mean, I guess the participants don’t really notice the difference cuz they just follow the instructor, but for a program that is supposed to be an entry level program and for the “fragile eggs” in the fitness industry, I really don’t think they should have difficult “off phrase” movement combinations.

Most of the class is ok, but for example in track 2 “Jump”, the combination has to start on counts 5 & 6 and finishes on 3 & 4. I mean, I can get it, and the moves go with the “Jump” lyrics in the music, but comon surely this can be choreographed better so that it’s not off phrase? The other programs i can mostly learn just off the notes and DVD without having to physically do it (BODYATTACK, BODYPUMP, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE), but just this one stupid move I had to practice several times to make sure I would get it right (it just doesn’t feel natural for me to move off phrase), and even then, I still made a mistake in the class.

Track 3 has a more complicated move that resembles a move in BODYJAM. Hubby tells me he saw it in jam also although it’s a bit more complicated in jam I guess.

During my training it was emphasised about the type of people doing BV, and we were taught things like, if people couldn’t get up off the floor how they could do move sitting on the edge of the stage so they could still get up, and how others could do some of the moves sitting in a chair. Judging on this latest release it doesn’t look like they’re targeting that market anymore especially not with “Ponies” in track 5.

On another note, the presenter’s voice of track 5 on the video reminds me exactly of Jo’s voice teaching attack back at Goodlife. Especially with doing hamstring curls, step touches and ponies, I feel like I’m in Jo’s attack class again!

Epe fillin

ah so now I’ve been asked to do a fill in at another centre, which isn’t a problem in itself, but it means I have to drive on….

 

 
…..the freeway….
 

 

This is quite scarey for me, which I can’t remember if I’ve explained before, but the people here drive on the freeway crazy compared with tiny ol’ Adelaide that only has one freeway it can really call a proper freeway. And here, they drive pretty much the same style at 120km (or faster……..mostly faster) as we do at 60km on Main North Road. So to sum up, it’s a bit scary.

Before going to the class I was therefore more nervous about driving on freeway than ever about teaching the class…….especially cuz teaching classes, even at strange gyms just doesn’t make me nervous these days. But I was trembling holding onto the steering wheel while driving onto the freeway. Luckily the freeway was pretty quiet by Dutch standards and I could easily get on to the freeway, and I like it when there’s a truck in front of me and I can just sit behind the truck while all other cars overtake. On when the left lane is clear do I dare to try overtaking.

Well, it’s only my second time alone on the freeway and me and tom (tom) got there and back safely. Oh and the class went fine aswell, and I’m filling in again next week (another drive on the freeway…….oh dear).