I think its fair to say that Les Mills has allowed us all to fall back in love with studio fitness. I’ve been a fitness addict for as long as I can remember and I am always looking for ways to challenge myself and take my fitness to the next level. Personally, I love working out with other people; It drives me forward, keeps me motivated and quite frankly, it’s fun!
Since discovering Les Mills over 15 years ago (yes I am that old) I’ve never looked back! Les Mills provide a range of fitness programmes that cater for every fitness level and taste. The programmes change every three months, so your workout never has the chance to get “stale” or ” too comfortable”. They offer new choreography and the latest music, along with new challenges which are adapted to ensure that everyone can achieve and improve despite your level of fitness! No more excuses then!!
An important part of their winning formula is their instructors or “tribe” as they are fondly known. There are 100,000 of them and counting! Yes you heard me! Each and every one of them are passionate, skilled and motivated fitness professionals who exude passion, have boundless energy and keep us motivated every step of the way. They are not just informative, they’re inspirational. They fuel our enthusiasm as participants, drive our passion for fitness forward and quite frankly keep us going when all we really want to do is curl up in a corner and cry.
But have you ever looked at your Les Mills instructor and wondered how they got there? Where did their fitness journey begin? What are their favourite programmes? What exactly does a “fitter planet” mean to them? Well you lucky people, I took it upon myself to do some digging and find out. It’s time to get up-close and personal to one of the Les Mills instructors who are currently leading the way. Who knows, maybe they’ll inspire you to become one too, if you think you’ve got what it takes!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness philosophy
I trained as an actor and continue to work in the industry. I predominantly work in the corporate sector as a roleplayer on behavioural change courses, and do voiceovers. Les Mills is my “hobby jobby!”
My philosophy is to find something you enjoy. Group exercise is not for everyone. If you like running up a hill or dancing in your living room alone, do it. Then, when you’re ready, try something different, so you don’t plateau.
Sure we may feel tired after exercise, but I’ve never heard of anyone feel worse than before they started.
Where did your passion for fitness originate?
I have no idea. I’ve watched and played lots of tennis… and still do.
As a tiny kid (probably about 2 years old), I remember watching Michael Chang and Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario win the French Open at 17 years old. They were the massive underdogs in both draws and totally different in how they played against all the big hitters. They were tiny and quick and chased every ball down. They had this knack of grinding out the wins by being walls. Chang even chucked in an underarm serve at one point. As the small fat kid, maybe something resonated with me with how they put the miles in and hung tough mentally.
Tell us about your Les Mills journey – where did it all begin?
I remember doing LM classes here, there and everywhere. I didn’t know what LM was then though – I just enjoyed these classes. One BODYATTACK™class was particularly electric on a Monday night at Virgin Active Oxford Street. 50+ people would be jumping to the music whilst this Kiwi husband and wife instructor duo would have us high as a kite. I would go along, hiding at the back in my baseball cap whilst never speaking to a soul. I always thought that class should have been on the NHS prescription if anyone had depression. Utter euphoria. I was lynched at the end of one class and told I should be instructing. I dismissed it, still didn’t speak to anyone for 18 months about it and just signed up secretly.
How many Les Mills programmes do you teach?
Which one is your favourite and why?
Don’t make me choose or I’ll have to kill you. I’ve been having a sordid affair with CXWORX™ for some time. It’s quick and effective. People think they’re coming for a six pack and get so much more. (Ssssh – don’t let my long term lovers BODYATTACK™ and BODYPUMP™ know – they’re my rocks!)
What are your best tips for finding consistency with workouts?
Les Mills! It’s pre-choreographed so you have an idea of what you’re getting. Depending on class duration, it should follow the same format globally. Whilst that can occasionally get bad press from freestyle instructors (they sometimes feel it lacks creativity), it can help you lift heavier or jump higher if you know what’s coming. Then you can see progression. With all that said, it’s great to mix up your training, so your body is constantly guessing and adapting.
What’s your daily diet and how important is the relationship between health, fitness and nutrition?
I try not to be too prescriptive about everything as it all depends on my current needs and goals. I read as much as possible (usually Poliquin articles). Juices, radical diets and the like may get short term results but they’re simply not sustainable long term. What happens when you stop? You can work out like a demon but if you eat rubbish, you’ll look rubbish.You can’t out-train a poor diet.
Ultimately, it’s about sensible, healthy lifestyle choices. Be kind to yourself and don’t take photos to show the world how virtuous your meals are – no one likes a goody goody!
What does a “fitter planet” mean to you?
For me, it’s just about encouraging each other to do a little more than we already do. Baby steps! Without fail, we feel better when we’re fitter. Whether that’s feeling more mobile, or just less sluggish – it doesn’t matter how you do it. With better nutrition (not necessarily less but smarter) and more movement, you’re onto a winner.
Watch this space…
Over the next few weeks I’ll be featuring other Les Mills instructors right here AND I’ll be heading up to Manchester to take part in ONELive, a one-stop-shop for all things Les Mills. I’ll get to try out all the latest releases, mingle with the trainers, presenters and instructors, stock up on Reebok’s latest fitness essentials and generally sweat up a storm! Think studio fitness but on a global scale. Unfortunately this event is sold out (actually it sold out in a matter of days) but fear not, you can find more information on future ONELive events right here …you’re welcome!