Missed opportunity

Very frustrated, with being unable to work right now or do any gym classes, I’ve just had the opportunity for a permanent balance class and another balance fill in (but alas, had to say “no” as I’m still injured). I’ve been waiting for the opportunity for a permanent balance class since I returned to Australia, and I’m sure doing more bodybalance would seriously help me get my body back where it needs to be. However, with the disc injury I have right now, downdogs, forward folds and pretty much any stretch is completely out of the question at the moment.

Sigh, well, maybe this “time off” is a lesson in patience or something or other.

Missed the workshops

секцииAfter arranging a babysitter and all prepared for the Quarter 4 workshops, we turned up today on the Sunday, only to find that the workshops had been moved to the Saturday. Although I’ve injured my back so I couldn’t do combat anyway, I was totally gutted that I missed Balance, and Alex missed his opportunity for his first workshop back in Adelaide.

I’m not sure how I feel about Les Mills Asia Pacific’s customer service lately. While I guess the error was my own mistake for going on the wrong day, I feel Les Mills could have done much better in several ways. Apparently Les Mills have started switching between Saturdays and Sundays for the last year, but since I’ve been overseas I have missed this. Previous to this the workshops were ALWAYS on a Sunday with some extra classes occasionally held on a Saturday.

So little did I know, they were chopping and changing it, and when I registered online for the workshop, there was tiny text listing the date below the workshop listing, ie:

Adelaide Super Workshop
6 November 2010

So the theory is, I probably should have written the date down while I registered. Maybe I should have? But I didn’t. Despite this, I feel Les Mills shouldn’t make it so hard for me to find the date and time of the classes in the case that I DIDN’T write it down. I received no confirmation letter of the date/times. Sure, I received a ticket for entry to the workshop, but there was no confirmation of date/time. Why doesn’t LM send out any confirmation of the date and time?

To make matters worse, once online registration has closed, the workshop disappears off the list in the online registration section, so therefore there is no possibility of looking up the time and date. Revolution didn’t turn up till after the workshop, so no help there either.

I posted on Les Mills Asia Pacific’s Facebook wall that I felt LM overall is going downhill in terms of customer service, which a couple of people disagreed. When I contacted LM about it I was basically faced with the answer “bad luck”. Ok, so I didn’t write down the small print at the time of registering, but good customer service in this country generally involves “going the extra mile” even if the customer is not always right.

During our trainings as an instructor LM always emphasise being approachable as an instructor. I’m really not seeing LM lead by example here, especially at the bigger events like Filex where you have to line up to get autographs and photos. I feel LM are trying to make the workshops too “professional” and forgetting about just creating an “awesome fitness class”.

For me, it doesn’t quite feel the same as the old days. I wonder where 2011 is going to take us? I think LM should rethink some of their policies before more competition like Zumba hits the scenes!

BODYPUMP 75

I’ve participated in this release 3 times now and I have to say I absolutely love it! This is the most fun I’ve had in pump ever since I last taught in Australia when I was still fit!

I just love the squats, I love the single bottom half pulse in time with the music. The chest track is a little bit more plain, but I love the back track and how it starts off slow and then it kicks off with the faster music. Makes me buzz!

Triceps I can’t really remember, I only remember pain and laying on my back. Biceps is just fun! The slightly difficult timing with the cover music (and seeing instructors struggle with it) keeps me mentally occupied.

Lunges, forget lunges……..I’m totally writing off lunges until I can complete a track. At least my ankle problem is getting stronger now and I put the back of my heel against the step to support my ankle which helps heaps.

Shoulders is awesome but the rotator lifts totally cain! Love the music, it’s awesome.

Abs and cooldown? Can’t really remember by that point, and I’ve worked too hard to care.

Total thumbs up for this release!

BODYPUMP 75 launch

I haven’t done pump for a couple of months following being sick and back problems etc and been concentrating on balance instead. So I finally dragged myself to a pump class this morning and was surprised to discover it was the actual launch class.

It was great to do pump again and it was definately easier for me than the last time I did it. Not easier in the sense I’m not lifting enough weight, but in the sense that my muscles felt like they were functioning better. Previously I found that my muscles were so tight and spasming that it was difficult to do the moves at all (mainly squats and lunges) and doing pump was extremely exhausting.

This morning however, it still hurt and it was still hard, but I didn’t feel that desperate exhaustion of feeling like I’d just had open heart surgery (not that I know what that feels like, but you get the idea). It definately helps me to go again when I know I’m not going to feel like that!

Can’t remember much of the music and chorrey (haven’t looked at my own DVD’s), but I do remember enjoying being back in pump, so it must have been good 🙂

Les Mills workshops

First time back to the Les Mills workshops in Adelaide. The initial plan was to get a babysitter and both Alex and I would go to combat in the morning, however after deciding getting a baby sitter would be too hard in the morning, and realising that combat was at 8am, we decided to can the whole idea of going. We decided that we really wouldn’t enjoy the class and if we didn’t have a baby sitter then only one of us could do the class anyway.

So we decided just to go to balance in the afternoon. I was planning on doing balance and Alex hoped to watch a bit if it was permitted with Connor around. As it turned out Alex was invited to take Connor upstairs where he could the class from the balcony. Upon going upstairs we were talking and then shortly later we got strictly reprimanded and told that this was restricted area for trainers only. Hmmmm, well, I explained that we were told to come up there. The trainer said we couldn’t because they needed their privacy and needed to get changed etc.

Now, I’m totally in support of the fact that they need somewhere to get changed, but I thought this attitude was pretty rude. It was the last class of the day and almost everyone was gone. I couldn’t image many more clothes changes occurring at that late stage of the day. At the very least, she could have asked a bit more nicely. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I’ve noticed over the last few years the trainers are becoming a bit more “elite” and less approachable. We’re seeing at Sydney Filex the Program Directors are not contactable at all except for during a brief “signing session”. I understand the whole concept of LM wanting workshops to be more “professional”, but I don’t think this is a good impression in the long run as it’ll make instructors behave more this way towards participants. We should remain totally down to earth and approachable and I don’t believe you should ever put yourself up on a pedestal, that’s something we should let other people do!

So, back at the workshop, I was very angry about the way the trainer spoke to us and how protective she was of their precious little change space and I didn’t feel motivated to stay for the balance masterclass anymore even though it was a beautiful day outside and Alex could have played with Connor in the outside gardens. Eventually I did decide to stay and participated in the class.

I enjoyed the class, although somehow I’m struggling to find that same buzz I used to. As usual I can’t remember much of the class, but I do remember that I didn’t notice the cover music AT ALL. There was one point in the class that I remembered to notice, but when I did listen to the music intently I could find anything “different” about the music to complain about. This really does go to show that participants really aren’t going to notice the PPCA free music.

Bridge pose

In Balance, when we do bridge pose, on the videos it always explicitly explains that we must squeeze our buttocks while lifting up.

However I once had a PT client that used to do pilates who said to me that they explicitly state to NOT squeeze the buttocks.

Yesterday I participated in a pilates class where the instructor also said not to squeeze the buttocks in bridge pose and to try and relax the muscles.

So my question is, why is this taught differently between the 2 programs?

BODYCOMBAT 44

I can’t believe “You’re Shining” is in the latest combat! That breaks my heart, since I recommended that song ages ago and was dying for that to be in combat or attack.

I’ve been so out of it when it comes to all the latest Les Mills stuff. A few weeks ago I finally purchased the latest releases for combat, pump and balance. I hadn’t bothered, since I haven’t been teaching much and only doing the occasional balance here and there. Last night I finally extracted all my songs to itunes so I could listen to new music on the way to work (I have an hour drive). When I first got in the car, I initially put on the warmup for combat 44, but then changed my mind and started searching for the latest balance. For some reason I didn’t feel in the mood for combat. But while I was looking for the balance tracks the first notes of the combat warmup really struck me. I couldn’t turn it off! so I stayed with combat, and the music sounds awesome! I haven’t done combat properly since combat 35, when I was pregnant. I did teach BC41 a few times in the netherlands, but apart from that I’m really missing out on a lot.

So after listening to the whole combat, man I wanna do it again! I can’t believe the feelings the music gave me, that buzz and motivation! It’s a pity everyone is mixing now and I’ve missed it 🙁

I’ve been taking my fitness slowly and doing pump and balance, maybe a low impact combat class will be on the cards soon?

BODYPUMP with PPCA free music

The news of the copyright tribunal decision is hitting the fitness industry, and Fernwood are another gym that are going all PPCA free music as of June 1st (or rather “gone”). I haven’t purchased any of the new releases as yet, since I’m currently not teaching and I’m working full time, so yesterday morning I did BODYPUMP with all PPCA free music.

I’ve heard lots of complaints and compliments about the other programs and so I was keenly interested to see what the music experience would be like as a participant. Let’s just say, I was pretty tuned in half of the time to the music, the other half the time I was in pain. I was pleasantly surprised and I didn’t think the music was too bad and there was only about 2 tracks (when I was noticing) that I kinda cringed and could tell that it was a cover. Some of the tracks were really bloody well done!

I think the main point I want to make here, is that if I wasn’t really paying attention to the music, I would never have noticed. The instructor did make a mention of the music being covers, and at one well known track a participant said “is this not the original?” I think there’s only going to be real problems if they cover the current top 40 music. I was never really keen on Les Mills using the latest top 40 music anyway, because we hear it all the time on the radio and then hammer it over and over in our classes. In light of the problem with covering these well known songs (because participants WILL notice these) I think Les Mills would be wise to do away with or steer away from using this type of music.

I’m 100% in support of going PPCA free since what the PPCA has done is ridiculous and greedy. I can’t see any gym going ahead and paying the fees. Why do we have to pay 3 times for the music anyway? First Les Mills pays for the licence to use the music, then we have to pay ARPA to be able to play music in businesses and then again to the PPCA. Imagine if BMW demanded fees for every time you take their car out and drove it on the road?

Ridiculous?

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.

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).  

Launches

We finally had our launches for BODYBALANCE 45 ( our launches are a LOT behind Australia I know!) and I taught the standing strength track out of the half block we presented (the other other was pilates, as it was an express block format for the launches).

Since at the launch there’s lots of new people trying out the classes, I tried really hard to use as much dutch as possible. This is a huge challenge for me with new choreography, and I don’t teach it as well (it just flows better in your own language, and people tell me that balance sounds better in English anyhow), but I think I did ok with some of my new words.

My new favourite word of the moment is “Drai” (I have no idea of the spelling!) which means “turn”. I use it all the time now:

  • Turn your toes left
  • Turn yourself to the back wall
  • Turn your shoulder out
  • Turn your knee out
  • Turn you hips forward

The different examples are endless………..a very useful word to know in Dutch for teaching balance classes 🙂

Anyway the launch went well, and I was doing the options, which was a good thing since my sacroilliac was still a bit tender and some of the moves were still a little painful for me, such as the full cobra/up dog.

And I really like the track I had to present aswell…….very nice track.