Marietta Mehanni


Written by Marietta

November 27, 2013

This month’s blog goes out to all the instructors who have ‘been around’ for a while.

At a recent Gymstick H2O workshop, I had an opportunity to reminisce about the good old days of group exercise instruction. That was when it was called Aerobics. Dawn, and instructor of over 30 years and I had a little giggle and chat about how ‘it used to be’ and since then, I have had flashbacks of how much the group fitness industry has changed. Here are my top 5 changes, some of them I am glad it has and others I miss dearly.

1. Ok, we have to start with the obvious – Lycra!! I started when the full bottom leotard was fashionable, that became the French cut and then the G-string. I loved these outfits so much that I had them especially made and had hundreds of pieces. They were multi coloured, velvet with the amazing cut outs and bits of lycra strips to hold everything together. I still have 2 outfits for those dress up classes and surprising always find them comfortable – miss this one (I know, embarrassing, but true).

2. Tapes. The good old cassette tapes that you would fast forward, rewind to just the right spot and if a tape deck was not handy, then a pencil would do. Ryan Hogan, CEO of Australian Fitness Network did a presentation in NZ that I attended and he had a slide with a cassette and a pencil and explained that only X Gens would appreciate the relationship. I did and laughed myself silly. Don’t miss tapes.

3. The auditions Part 1. When I first started teaching in the fitness industry in 1989, you had to audition to get into a course. Yep, you read it correctly. There were so many people who wanted to be aerobics instructors that courses asked groups of people to come in and audition to be chosen. A scene straight out of FAME. So here is my opportunity for a plug for the Cert III group exercise course that I will be teaching on behalf of Australian Fitness Academy. This course will start in August 2013 and I will be only teaching this one this year, so if you are keen, please email me: [email protected]

4. The auditions Part 2. If you were one of the chosen few to get into a course and actually pass, then you were out in the competitive world of attaining a permanent class. I remember having to audition 3 times for the City Baths before I was accepted to teach a Friday morning 6.30am Circuit class because I wasn’t good enough to teach an aerobics or aqua aerobics class on the schedule. And this is the best part, you simply could not get a fill in. If that fill in was better than you or the members preferred that instructors, you were gone. Don’t miss this one.

5. The choreography. I am a freestyler and will always be. Once you have been taught to teach, you just can’t not teach and create your own class plans. I get that this industry needs pre choreography, it’s necessary as the demand for instructors is higher than the supply but I must share with you the magic. The magic is when you create choreography, choose your music, practice your delivery and then teach the class, focusing on more than the choreography, but also individuals who are learning, performing and enjoying what you have created. Magic! And even though I taught a pre choreographed program for several years, that magic was never recreated into those classes. Now when someone says that they have really enjoyed the class, I own that praise. All 100% of it. When it is all done for me, I believed it was pre choreography developer and programmer that owned that praise, and so they should. I miss not having the opportunity to teach what I love and perfected over 24 years as often as I would like, but as ‘they’ say, the pendulum will swing back.

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