Les Mills Kia Kaha


  • Spotlight on the Reebok/Les Mills SS’ 14

    Want the lowdown on the hottest items from the first co-branded Reebok/Les Mills collection? We recently caught up with Les Mills Trainers Jericho McDuffie and Jeremiah Evans who shared their favorite new wardrobe essentials.

    Check out the video here.

    Featuring bold colours, graphics and prints paired with sleek, dynamic silhouettes this new collection is the key to looking sharp on the gym or studio floor. The range is specifically designed to accommodate the tough athletic demands of LES MILLS™ classes and each piece uses cutting-edge technology and design to optimize functionality, ventilation and mobility. Functional workout pieces are complemented by casual street-wear items to ensure you look good inside and outside of the studio. And a first for Les Mills, a co-branded shoe selection has been perfectly matched with the new clothing range.

    To check out the complete Reebok/Les Mills SS’ 14 range visit www.reebok.com.

    Les Mills Instructors get 25% off all Reebok gear. Visit www.reebok.com/reebokone for more information.

  • The Les Mills anthem: get it on your playlist!



    Want more music that motivates? Now you can get your hands on the ultimate track. The energizing Les Mills theme, Feel the Light, will help drive you through any workout. And adding it to your playlist is easy – all you need to do is jump onto iTunes.



    Designed as a fresh, contemporary anthem, Feel the Light is a powerful beat heavy dance track that combines musical melody and pop appeal with Les Mills’ famed haka heritage. It’s catchy, edgy and motivational.



    The song was born from collaboration between Paora Sharples, the original author of the Les Mills haka, a collection of New Zealand song writers and the team at Les Mills. The end result is an inspirational tune designed to connect with the millions of fitness fans who are helping create a fitter planet.



    Feel the Light has already made its debut at number of Les Mills events around the globe – and it’s proven to be a hit. The feedback’s been super positive and everybody loves the haka reference!



    Hit the iTunes store now to buy your very own copy of Les Mills’ Feel the Light.


     

  • Totally guilt-free festive indulgence


    When it comes to festive indulgences Diana’s Bliss Bites are quite simply unbeatable. These delicious sweet treats tick all of the boxes. They’re gluten free, dairy free, raw, vegetarian and vegan. And to top it off, they’re super easy to whip up. So there’s no excuse not to give them a go.

    Diana’s Bliss Bites

    Ingredients:

    • 8 pitted dates, cut in half
    • 2 tablespoons almond butter
    • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
    • 1 tablespoon of cacao powder
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
    • 1 handful of shredded coconut
    • 2 tablespoons of linseed/flaxseed
    • 1 tablespoon of LSA mix


    Method:
    1. Put all the ingredients (except the coconut) into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth
    2. Roll the mixture into balls (it should make around 8 small balls) and then roll in the coconut
    3. Place in the fridge for at least of 20 minutes before eating.

    Fancy some added intensity? Diana suggests adding 1/4 cup of dark chocolate to the mix (but, this means the mix will no longer be dairy free).





    As a Les Mills Creative Director and Co-Program Director for BODYBALANCE™, Diana Mills is responsible for the choreography creation, presentation and program development of Les Mills’ popular yoga and Pilates-inspired mind/body program. Of course that’s not all Diana is famous for. On top of being an inspiring and motivational fitness professional, Diana is a devoted mother and one mean cook!

  • How to have happy and HEALTHY holidays


    Want a fun and enjoyable festive season but don’t like the idea of falling off the fitness wagon? Follow these helpful tips from Les Mills’ Glen and Sarah Ostergaard and you’ll be set for success.

    GLEN & SARAH’S FIVE TOP TIPS FOR A HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON

    1. Stay active. It’s ok to give your regular exercise routine a rest over the holiday break but make a point of getting moving in other ways – walking, bike riding and swimming are all great options. By doing something that is different from your weekly schedule you are more likely to feel fresh and revitalized when you get back into the regular swing of things.

    2. Everything in moderation – particularly alcohol and food. It’s ok to have your treats and indulge in the odd dessert or chocolate, after all you want to enjoy your holiday break and relax a little. But don’t over indulge!

    3. Enjoy your holiday. Have family time, time to yourself and REST! Make the most of your time off so that you can recharge your body and enter into 2014 fighting fit.

    4. Plan ahead. Make some plans for 2014, set your goals for the year and schedule in some classes or training for after the holidays. Whatever you do, make your goals realistic and achievable.

    5. Lock in a start date. Plan exactly when you’re going to start back with your exercise routine for the year – and stick to it!


    Glen and Sarah Ostergaard are the husband and wife duo who, as Program Directors, are at the heart of one of Les Mills most popular programs, RPM™. Glen is also the BODYPUMP™ Program Director and involved in the choreography development for LES MILLS GRIT™. On top of dedicating their time to choreography creation, presentation and program development for these LES MILLS™ favorites Glen and Sarah are also devoted parents (to their two year old daughter) who love to get out and about and get active outside the gym.

  • A moment with… Petter Ehrnvall, Training Director at Les Mills Nordic



    Last month we interviewed Petter about his part in the epic experience that was Super Saturday. In part two we discover a bit more about Petter and how he makes the most of his action-packed lifestyle…

    1. Can you tell us a bit about your background in fitness and how you first became involved in Les Mills’ programs?

    I started working part time at the front desk of a gym in Stockholm. I worked out a lot with the PT’s at the club and they thought I had a good idea of what I was doing, so they recommended the manager to put me through a personal training course. I also participated in classes, so got asked to start teaching indoor cycling, and then when BODYCOMBAT™ was launched in Sweden I got the opportunity to attend one of the first modules. That was back in 1999 or early 2000. Not too long after I started doing video assessments for Les Mills and then I got an opportunity to do a module when one of the trainers got sick. And that’s kind of how things got started.

    2. Which LES MILLS™ programs do you teach/coach?

    BODYPUMP™, LES MILLS GRIT™, BODYCOMBAT™, RPM™, CXWORX™®, BODYATTACK™.

    3. Do you have a busy travel schedule and if so, how do you manage to stay in shape, being away from home so often?

    Just had a look at my calendar and realized it’s slowing down a bit. In the last two years I’ve been travelling tons, though. There are a couple of things I try and stick to:

    - Try and find a spot to go workout, (and look for it before you get on the plane), and decide when you’re going. i.e. have a plan
    - Yes you will be tired but get it done anyway
    - Sometimes there isn’t much equipment/room to work with, do what you can

    Basically, have a plan and try and eliminate the excuses!

    4. What’s your personal nutrition philosophy and do you have any diet tips for those with busy schedules like yours?

    Those who know me know I’m not real strict with my diet. I eat healthy, but do enjoy food and pastries and I’m way too curious to be able to not try! I think I could use the same statement as above; have a plan. Be it nutrition or workouts, knowing when your next meal/workout is and what it will be is key! It minimizes the risk of just grabbing whatever is at hand. Having a plan is more important than what it consists of.

    That said, travelling makes it so much more difficult. Sometimes you are going places without having a clue about what to expect in terms of food, restaurants, shops etc. So it’s always good to bring some snacks so you’re able to buy some time when the hunger hits.

    5. Where’s the first place we’d find you when you’re not working out?

    In bed or in the kitchen. I like to cook. And I also like shopping. So I can spend hours at the grocery store. Especially when I travel I love to go to the grocery store and just check out all the local stuff and things I normally wouldn’t find at home.

    6. Finally- where can we expect to see you next? (Any big events or special projects coming up)

    No big events or trips booked as of now. I’ve barely caught my breath after Super Saturday and LES MILLS GRIT™ filming so feels kind of nice. I will do quite a bit of quarterlies in the Nordic region during November and December and also teach classes at Fitness Festivalen in Gothenburg, which is one of the bigger industry fairs/trade shows in Sweden.

  • No time for illness – Erica’s story

    My name is Erica Croke and I am a Group Exercise Manager and Group Exercise Instructor in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am 28 years old and I am a cancer survivor. I never thought that this would be something I would ever say, let alone say it in my 20’s.

    I started my GoodLife journey 8 years ago in 2005 when I joined as a member of the new Blackmarsh Road club in St. John’s, NL. I had never worked out before and really didn't know anything about exercise. I wasn't overweight but I was completely out of shape and I could not manage to walk up a flight of stairs without having an asthma attack.

    After several weeks of plodding along on the treadmill and elliptical, I stepped into a Newbody class for the first time. I was determined to get through a WHOLE hour of exercise. After that, I knew that this was what I wanted to be doing at the gym. I tried the Les Mills classes BODYSTEP™ and BODYPUMP™ and was immediately hooked! Two years later I took my first Les Mills instructor training for BODYSTEP™. I then took on BODYPUMP™, BODYATTACK™, RPM™, BODYCOMBAT™, BODYVIVE™, CXWORX™… I trained to teach ALL of them!



    On July 23, 2013 I was diagnosed with a rare type of thyroid cancer that had spread throughout my neck and chest. I had no symptoms aside from one innocent looking lump, so I was quite shocked. GoodLife promotes “peak attitude” and Les Mills uses the New Zealand phrase “Kia Kaha” (be strong), so I employed both of these from the very beginning. There was no other option – I would have my surgery and then get back to teaching my classes as soon as possible. No one could tell me otherwise.

    I had my surgery on September 11th, 2013. They removed 21 cancerous lymph nodes as well as my entire thyroid gland. My neck and back were seized up from my lack of neck mobility, my right eye was drooping from nerve damage, I could not feel the right side of my face, and I all my body wanted to do was sleep. I knew the only way to get back to normal was to start doing what I normally do – go to classes. Six days after surgery, I went to a BODYBALANCE™/BODYFLOW® class (doing mostly lower options) to get my arms and back moving again to relieve the pain. A few days later I went to an RPM™ class (after all I didn't need my upper body to cycle)! I then worked my way through a BODYVIVE™ class (modifying where necessary). I then gained the confidence to go to BODYSTEP™ and BODYATTACK™ a few times. My first BODYPUMP™ class back was the toughest, but I lightened my weight and pushed through. Just four weeks after having surgery, I was back on the stage teaching my own classes again and feeling better than ever.

    I truly believe that being fit and healthy can get you through anything. It’s preventative medicine. When I told my surgeon at my 5 week check-up what I was doing, he was very surprised. He said that he would not have expected me to be able to do all of this, four weeks post-surgery.

    Just recently before my BODYPUMP™ class, a new member came up to me and hugged me. She told me that her first BODYPUMP™ class was the one I had taught right before I had surgery. I told the class that I would be back soon. She said to herself “Well if she is coming back soon after going through that, there is no excuse for me not to come back!” If it weren't for Les Mills classes and GoodLife, I would not have bounced back as quickly as I did and would probably be still sitting on the couch right now. One of my favorite quotes is “Those who do not find the time for exercise now, will eventually have to find time for illness”. I didn't have time for illness, but I will always make time for Group Exercise classes.



    This inspiring story comes courtesy of Erica and GoodLife. Erica has been teaching LES MILLS™ classes at GoodLife Fitness for almost 6 years. Starting with BODYSTEP™ in January 2008, she went on to obtain certifications in BODYPUMP™, BODYATTACK™, RPM™, BODYCOMBAT™, BODYVIVE™, and CXWORX™. She has worked in several roles with GoodLife including: Personal Trainer, Member Ambassador, TRX Team Coach, and her current role, Group Exercise Manager. Erica also loves spending time with family and friends on the weekends, teaching her parrot Milo new words to say, and road trips.

  • BODYPUMP™ and BODYCOMBAT™ keeping US sailors fighting fit

    Ask Les Mills Instructor Kiki Cordrey what she loves about teaching group fitness at a US military base in Japan and she’ll swiftly tell you that it’s using BODYPUMP™ and BODYCOMBAT™ to put sailors through their paces and making sure that they’re fighting fit.

    Kiki has long been involved in the fitness industry and first came across Les Mills five years ago when, recognising that the military needed to provide the best training around, her manager made the decision to implement LES MILLS™ programs. While initially Kiki didn’t like the idea of doing any additional module training she reluctantly went along anyway… “That was it,” she says. “Instantly I became a total Les Mills convert!”

    “My first BODYPUMP™ masterclass gave me goosebumps. All I could think was, how come I didn’t know about this – it’s exactly what I have been looking for. I LOVE IT! I JUST LOVE IT!”

    It’s mostly navy sailors who attend Kiki’s classes and while there’s always a steady attendance, there are a couple of times a year that classes peak. The military have a physical assessment test every six months and many come to Kiki’s classes to prepare. BODYPUMP™ gets them there.



    Kiki thinks that those in the Navy like the discipline that BODYPUMP™ provides. She says that the chest and shoulder tracks are always the most popular and the biceps are often a favourite too – but those military boys hate their lunges. BODYCOMBAT™ is also popular. It’s attracts a reaI mix of participants as people love the results it provides.

    According to Kiki, many on the military base used to think that group fitness was only for females. While, thankfully LES MILLS™ classes have helped changed that misconception, every now and then Kiki is faced with someone who has pre-judged group fitness without trying it. “All I’ll say is BODYPUMP™ is tougher than you think! You don’t know how much I can lift, so bring it on!”

    Kiki loves the fact that as a Les Mills instructor the songs are ready to go, the choreography is sorted and you can be confident that all of the latest trends and fitness industry insights have been taken into account. “It’s all been developed by some of the world’s best, it’s refreshed every three months and there’s always something new. This means I can focus solely on providing an amazing experience!”



    Now Kiki has her sights set on becoming a LES MILLS GRIT™ coach. Not only is high intensity interval training something that she’s really interested in, she knows that it will be something that all of the sailors will be keen on too.

    At the end of the day they need to be fit and physically prepared for war. BODYPUMP™ and BODYCOMBAT™ are great for this, and with LES MILLS GRIT™ they will be able to take their fitness to a whole new level.

    Photos courtesy by T. Hester Photography

  • A Super Saturday and Sunday in Stockholm - Petter’s highlights package



    He was the man behind the raging success that was Super Saturday and Super Sunday in Stockholm, where we did our first-ever offshore filming of a new release. He then jumped straight from the stage onto a plane to New Zealand to head up the team for LES MILLS GRIT™ Plyo and Cardio – it’s fair to say that Les Mills Nordic training director Petter Ehrnvall is one busy guy, not to mention super fit! He talks to us about his top moments at the epic event that was. 

    Q. What was your role at Super Saturday and can you give us a highlight of the event for you?

    I was organizing the event so basically in charge of the whole thing. Luckily for me, there was a lot of great people involved both from Les Mills Nordic and Les Mills International.

    For me the highlight is the people! Just seeing all the people working out, having fun, the atmosphere, it’s just such a cool, almost unreal feeling! The time and effort people take to get to the event, there’s just so much passion for what we do.

    Personally, BODYPUMP™ filming on Sunday morning was a real buzz. I don’t have words. That many people, the energy. We had a short week to prep, but felt real good about the team on stage and I think we had fun together, both during prep and the actual class. Being able to share a moment like that with friends, both on and off the stage….I can’t tell you how grateful I am for an experience like that.



    Q. Super Saturday was pretty intense and physical demanding - did you do anything special to get in shape for the event?

    Hahaha no, there was so much work leading up to the event so I had little time for my own workouts. Whenever we do quarterlies though, there are always those days when you have to teach a good three or four programs in a day. Once you’ve done that a couple of times, you know what it takes. But I think it’s equally important to control the stress and nerves. We are used to the physical part of it, but big stage teaching and filming just creates another level of stress.

    Q. You’ve recently completed your first filming as a LES MILLS GRIT™ presenter in Auckland - describe the experience.

    I really had a great time. I enjoyed working with Les and the team, it was a relaxed atmosphere and we had a lot of fun prepping. The workouts are tough, so I think we all started to feel it towards the end of the week. I know my legs were feeling it.

    Even though I have filmed a couple of BODYPUMP™ DVDs, filming LES MILLS GRIT™ was different. I think part of it is because the way you coach a class is way different from the other programs. It will be interesting to see the final product, how the interaction with individuals come across on the DVD.

  • THANK YOU x 100,000

    From London to Shanghai, New York to Marrakesh and almost everywhere in between... There are 100,000 Les Mills instructors spread across 80 countries who make up the Les Mills World. These passionate, dedicated and talented individuals go above and beyond, constantly training and up-skilling and putting everyone else’s workouts before their own.

    For this we want to say THANK YOU!



    This specially designed thank you video was screened at last month’s quarterly Masterclass filming in Stockholm and watched by the thousands of instructors who attended the event. Featuring real instructors who have been teaching for years and have earned their moment in the spotlight, it shows them working out in their local environments, highlighting the energy and dedication that it takes to be a truly world class Les Mills instructor.

    The instructors in this video are just the tip of the iceberg. We know that there are thousands of Les Mills instructors out there who have stories to show and tell – and we want to see and hear them!

    Share your Les Mills story.

    #LMWORLD

  • Jericho goes behind the scenes

    Last month we did something we’ve never done before and took our filming off-shore for the first time.



    That’s right- we shipped our entire production crew and team of program directors off to Sweden to a little event called SUPER SATURDAY and filmed all our new releases to a crowd of more than 4,000! All this excitement about Super Saturday got us thinking about filming and what an awesome time it is here at Les Mills HQ so we decided to take a look back at a video we made with the super-talented Jericho McDuffie as she went behind the scenes at filming here in Auckland earlier this year… check it out!

  • Filming, flying and fitness- by guest blogger Matias Sarria



    Last week’s filming felt more international than ever, with lots of extra faces, some new and many familiar, filling Studio 1 at Les Mills Auckland City. The Kia Kaha team caught up with BODYPUMP™ and BODYATTACK™ instructor Matias Sarria, a LAN Cargo airline pilot from Santiago, who fits three weeks in Auckland for filming each year into his busy flying schedule!

    Everyone’s got a Les Mills story, what’s yours?

    A few years ago, I was at my heaviest weight ever, 96kg. I started my weight-loss journey, trying everything from nutrition changes, doctor’s visits and even hypnosis! My friend was a BODYPUMP™ instructor and started to push me to go to a class. I went- the next day I couldn’t walk. I spent the whole day in bed and I thought “If I’m this sore, it must be working!”

    I started to fall in love with BODYPUMP™. Then on a flight stopover in Amsterdam, I heard about this thing called BODYATTACK™ and decided to try it. By the end of the class I loved it! A year later I was a certified BODYPUMP™ and BODYATTACK™ instructor.

    What’s it like instructing in Chile?

    With my flight roster changing every week, it’s hard to fit in a regular class so I teach mostly cover classes and team-teach with other instructors. I’ve also taken part in teaching BODYATTACK™ classes at the local Vina del Mar beach in summer as a project my friend started with the local university which is a lot of fun!

    Why come all the way to Auckland?

    Soon after I discovered BODYATTACK™, I did a lot of research and decided I had to visit New Zealand. I first came to Auckland for GFX in 2012 and made so many friends. People made me feel so welcome. I was shocked when some of the instructors recognized me from last year and said hi, it’s those small details that make you feel so comfortable. All my friends back in Chile think I’m crazy, spending three weeks of my holiday leave in a gym but this is what I love! To me, it’s a good way to spend my holidays.

    How has your filming experience been this time around?

    I feel so good here, I’ve seen a lot of friends I met at GFX and all those relationships have become closer. This place is amazing.

    What’s the next phase of your fitness journey?

    Keep training, get fitter and improve my instructing and who knows which program will be next!

  • BODYATTACK™ 80: As the latest release hits clubs this month, Chad Deets gets the low-down from the one and only Lisa O.

    My name is Chad Deets, and I am a BODYATTACK™ addict. My journey with weight loss began in June 2007, at 418 pounds. Over two and a half years, I was able to turn my life around, sustaining a 200 pound loss for over four years almost exclusively through participating and instructing BODYATTACK™. Late last year I was honored to conduct a personal interview with BODYATTACK™ guru Lisa Osborne.

    The early years…

    Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Lisa cannot remember a time when she wasn’t active: “Since I could move, I was in a pair of ballet shoes [her mother was a ballerina]… my dad ran every day, so, I was just immersed in it.” Being just as gifted academically, Lisa began her first career as an elementary school teacher by age 20, where she stayed for five years.

    After freestyle instructing for a short time, Lisa decided to pursue fitness fulltime and compete. Beginning in 1992, she won three aerobic world titles in a five year period and presented at freestyle fitness conventions all over Australia. It was during this time that she began to get regular phone calls from Bill Robinson, CEO of Les Mills Australia, asking her to become a BODYPUMP™ trainer. Lisa says she turned him down repeatedly, being skeptical of pre-choreographed classes at first. After six months of persistence (thank you Bill!), he convinced her by promising to never call her again if she didn’t like it.

    She liked it. The very next weekend after being the trainee, Lisa began a two and a half year stint as a trainer in BODYPUMP™, BODYSTEP™, and BODYATTACK™.

    Lisa the Program Director…

    Ever since it launched internationally, Lisa has been in charge of the education for BODYATTACK™, putting together the first training manuals and modules. Although she was already choreographing BODYSTEP™, it was mostly coincidence that she began choreographing BODYATTACK™, filling in after a member of the previous choreography team left suddenly.

    As Program Director, Lisa’s primary duty is the selection of music, and the creation of all choreography and education for BODYATTACK™. Lisa says she never goes into a release with a theme; rather it is an organic process that begins with the music. “Music inspires my movement”, she says. She usually chooses music for her programs while running: “I get a lot of work done when I run. I find what [music] motivates me and what I get lost in.”

    When it comes time to film, Lisa is in charge of selecting and coaching her filming presenters. She says the common thread she looks for is those who create an inclusive experience. “I like people that are real, and not self-focused, but really focused on the class. I’d prefer someone that was not as good physically, but better with communication and creating the essence and experience.”

    Finally, Lisa spends time on program research and development. This can be anything from watching the latest fitness videos to observing boot camps and personal trainers at work. “I spend a lot of time online,” she explains, considering questions like “What’s working? What are they doing? What can we do?” It is this research that leads to changes such as the introduction of 3D. “It would be crazy to try and stay in the past. I believe in change and the future.”

    BODYATTACK™ 80: Celebrating 20 years of BODYATTACK™

    Although the track list is being kept under wraps, Lisa explains that the number 80 holds no musical significance: “Don’t expect it, there’s not one 80’s song in there. I’m going futuristic… now sounds.” As far as choreography goes, Lisa says “There’s some new moves, new high end challenges, but not forgetting the options. Options are still really important.”

    In addition, there are two New Zealand instructors shadowing the entire release who Lisa explains really personify the essence of the program: “They come to my classes, they team teach for nothing, they just love it and want to get better.” This is Lisa’s hope for the 80th release: “I want 80 to be a real team celebration at every level… instructors, members... Fun and fitness, challenging but ‘we’ll do it together’.”

    Recipe for success…

    One of the hottest questions on my lips was about Lisa’s own fitness regimen. How does the woman who helps shape so many amazing bodies, keep hers looking its best? “Well obviously I teach a lot of BODYATTACK™, two BODYSTEP™ classes a week, two BODYPUMP™ classes, a LES MILLS GRIT™ Series Cardio class and I participate in CXWORX™.” In addition, she trains with Corey Baird, runs twice a week, and plays tennis with familiar faces Gandalf Archer, Jackie Mills and Bryce Hastings. She insists that she does have tired days, although I told her you’d never know by watching her on stage. “It’s the music and the movement. How can you be tired once that starts?”

    Lisa at home…

    On husband Pita: “We don’t do Les Mills at home. We have lots of parties. We drink and eat! Pita teaches BODYCOMBAT™ and he’s really serious about it. He’ll be in the kitchen with his headset on, and he starts cueing. I’m allowed to tell him to stop cueing now!”

    On her sons Jackson (7) and Hunter (1): “Jackson is a natural athlete. He’s quite grown up, great with people, quite sensitive actually. Hunter is going to be different. He’s gorgeous, but he’s so naughty. Hunter bites.”

    Will she have more? “NO!!! Definitely no. Two is hard! I used to tell people if they had one, it was hard!”

    To read more from my time with Lisa, you can visit my blog at http://bodyattackaddict.blogspot.com

    NB: I would like to thank Lisa, Les Mills, and Glen Stollery for helping to make this experience possible. I would also like to thank rock star BODYATTACK instructors Natalie Knollmiller and Shelly Bowers for bringing Attack into my life (you ladies are amazing!), and all my fellow instructors and participants. Kia Kaha! -Chad

  • Jace in his place

    Anyone who meets Jace Ago knows of his unwavering passion and love for Les Mills. A passion that was honoured by his selection to be on the DVD presenting team for SH’BAM™ 12. However, the road to receiving this accolade was challenging. He tells guest blogger Raina Singh about his journey.

    Several years ago, in a men’s’ clothing store in Auckland, Jace Ago was an insecure young man who had a dream. His dream started over seven years ago when he watched a BODYJAM™ DVD in the Philippines. He was captivated by what he saw and it kick-started his engine of desire. “I want that,” he told himself.

    From experiencing doubt and struggle in his initial training, to building up enough expertise to teach 18-20 classes per week, Jace worked hard in the Philippines, training in BODYJAM™, BODYBALANCE™, BODYSTEP™ and BODYVIVE™. What he didn’t foresee was the journey that was to come after he relocated from the Phillippines to New Zealand.

    “When I first got to New Zealand, I was insecure.” Jace says. “Even though I teach mainly in English back in the Philippines, after seeing how good the instructors were at Les Mills in Auckland, my first reaction was Oh no, I can’t do this.”

    Jace’s insecurity over his English made him pull back from instructing group fitness for almost a year. To this day, Jace acknowledges that he has a harder time because his instructing isn’t taking place in his native tongue. But he laughs as he recounts a memory from the SH’BAM™ 12 rehearsals.

    “When we were practising for filming, Tauvaga said to me, ‘You should say ‘Yo I’m Jace and this is T-Pain and Rach and we’re about to do this’. My response to him was “Uh no… too much English!””

    English aside, Jace knew he had ability and he still had his dream. Eventually, it was a chance to cover a BODYVIVE™ class on the outskirts of the suburbs of Auckland for four months that prompted him into action.

    “It was a long commute on the bus and I was getting home at 9pm, but at the time it was my only class and I missed teaching so much that I didn’t really mind. After teaching and talking to the members I would say to myself, "Why did I stop teaching for a year? This is the best feeling in the world.”"

    After regaining the taste for instructing he never looked back picking up classes across several Auckland clubs.

    Jace discovered SH’BAM™ soon after its development in New Zealand, and says although it seems strange when compared to BODYJAM™ he soon got the hang of it.  He says, “When I did the module, I gained an awareness of how to teach SH’BAM™ the right way. It was just magic. That was then I fell in love with the program.”

    What others will find interesting is that in spite of a desire to be a DVD presenter, Jace absolutely cannot stand cameras.

    “I hate them. I delayed filming my BODYJAM™ certification for a year because I don’t like cameras. Watching my initial certification and watching the first cut of SH’BAM™ 12 were no different. It never gets any easier. I’m just like ‘Oh did I just do that?’ ‘Oh did I say that?’ ‘Is that how I sound?’ I’m actually dreading learning this release since I will have to watch myself again!”

    Jace has run the spectrum of emotions throughout his journey. The scepticism and doubt leading into auditioning for training, the fear and anxiety during his initial module, the relief and wonder upon passing, and the excitement and joy that comes from teaching to appreciative members. He now has aspirations to become a trainer and to share his knowledge and experience with anyone who needs help.

    “I was lucky that there was a really kind instructor who would let me teach and give me feedback when I was training. He was like my mentor, John Fernando, who is now teaching in New Zealand. He made me feel good, and it made me want to do that for others.”

    Jace knows that one thing all instructors have in common is bumps along the road. He offers some advice:

    “Go back and find the reason why you started teaching. Look deep, and recall the first reason why you did the first module. What motivated you? Strive for that. Keep the passion going, keep the flame burning. Hard work, passion, determination, and with a little bit of luck, you can go places.

    “Don’t stop dreaming. From the moment I watched that first video it took me seven and a half years to reach my goal, with one year in there where I didn’t teach at all.

    “And it’s okay to take a break, but don’t forget the reason why you did the module, while you fell in love with the Les Mills programs in the first place. There’s a reason why you passed the module and a reason why you were certified. It’s because you can do it.”

  • Behind the scenes at quarterly filming…5 things you didn’t know!



    We all know filming week is the highlight of each quarter at Les Mills, Auckland City’s Victoria St gym floods with an infectious energy as instructors from all corners of the world come together to become a part of Les Mills’ legacy. Our production team goes into overdrive, putting hours of blood, plenty of sweat, and tears into producing our world-class DVDs, which are shipped to our Tribe of 90,000 instructors in 80 countries. But how much work really goes into each DVD? The numbers might surprise you!

    For example…

    1. Around 200 people are involved in each filming round, from the start of choreography right through the distribution of the final DVDs!

    2. A total of 549 different DVDs have been produced by Les Mills, from when filming first started right up until Q1 2013

    3. One DVD takes a total of 29 weeks to be produced, right from the beginning of choreography through to its final distribution

    4. Around 50 instructors per quarter travel to Auckland City Gym at Victoria St each release to attend filming classes

    5. A huge 100,000 individual DVD units are produced each quarter, including 6 different kit versions across each of Les Mills’ 10 programs (not including LES MILLS GRIT™ Series)!

  • Hugo talks BODYSTEP™ 92



    As always, filming week has been a fun, fantastic frenzy at Les Mills Auckland City with hundreds of instructors visiting from all corners of the world to be part of Les Mills history.

    Mandi Jones sat down with visiting instructor, Hugo Pedroso, from Portugal to find out what motivates him and how he how he keeps his standards (and energy levels!) up while teaching five programs as well as being a national program director and trainer.

    Hugo, welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I grew up playing sports like karaté and basketball. Then I went to the university to study physical education and sport to be a sports teacher at schools. But during my university years, I made contact with fitness and in a natural way (and unexpectedly!) I discovered my professional path. First I became a BODYCOMBAT™ instructor because of my background in karate and after that Les Mills became part of my life.

    Currently I teach BODYSTEP™, BODYCOMBAT™, BODYJAM™, BODYPUMP™ and now, Les Mills GRIT™ Series. I'm the National program director for BODYSTEP™ and a trainer for BODYCOMBAT™ and BODYJAM™. I've been teaching for almost 10 years.

    This is my first time in New Zealand. It is a MAJOR opportunity to became a part of a DVD (BODYSTEP™ 92) and I'm very excited and proud. This is a once in a life time opportunity! The process is huge and takes us to another level. Working seven days with the best of the best is something you can’t put a price on!

    What’s your motivation behind teaching Les Mills programs?

    Passion, knowledge, professionalism, quality of the product. It's difficult to explain because the Les Mills programs become a way of life. They change not only your body, but also the way you live as Les Mills brings so much passion, emotion and feeling to life.

    What was your first impression/experience of doing the BODYSTEP™ Athletic circuit?

    The first time I experienced the athletic circuit it was: DAAAAMMMMNN THIS IS A HUGE CHALLENGE!!! YEEESSSSS!!!! It will provide a whole new level of workout for BODYSTEP™. In Portugal the athletic circuit brings more participants, (especially men that didn’t come to BODYSTEP™ classes before) and retains the others because it’s a refreshing change. Of course it’s great there is still the option of 70/30 (the traditional BODYSTEP™ favourite) for the “Flava-addicted”!

    What should we expect in BS 92?

    In my opinion this is one of the best choreos of BODYSTEP™ ever! The music is tremendous and the workout is a real challenge. At the same time the “Flava” tracks are very cool! 92 has a lot of new moves and plenty of options for the instructor to build the perfect workout for their class.

    The circuit is intense! With such a range of different fitness levels out there, how do you make it inclusive for everyone?

    YES it is intense! But like every move and track in BODYSTEP™, there are options for lower impact or intensity. The instructor must choose and show to their participants the different options for each move. By lowering the step, losing the arm movements or jumps, the options are countless. Any participant of BODYSTEP™ can do the circuit, starting with lower intensity options that challenge them.

    What is one message/benefit you have experienced since teaching and participating in the BODYSTEP™ Athletic circuit?

    The circuit brings athleticism to BODYSTEP™! Power, stamina, cardio, resistance... all are taken to another level. And it's cool because it’s a very simple track in terms of moves and coordination, so participants can focus more on training and challenging themselves to become “fitter".

More Posts Next page »