Booty Barre… never in my career would I have ever considered this program or even enrolled to train up to be an instructor, but there I was, one weekend in June, turning out my bare feet and plié like my life depended on it.
I participated in a workshop that Goodlife organised for their staff and external instructors and being the first one in Melbourne for the fitness industry, there were a lot of familiar faces there. I loved, loved, loved it and let me tell you why…
1. The presenter for the course, Keft was a humble, knowledgeable, energetic and an inspiring teacher. When I realised how much material that she had to get through, I was truly impressed. It was the largest Booty Barre course that had been delivered in Australia and Keft handled the big charismatic instructor personalities with grace and quiet control. There was no ego with Keft and I simply admired her delivery, form and technique. I went to her classes the following weekend and will endeavour to attend whenever I am not teaching on a Saturday morning. I have a new instructor role model – just what I was looking for.
2. BARE FEET – so an update on my foot status. After years of bouncing around in well supported shoes, I have very flat feet, bunions and toes that will not uncurl. My feet are LAZY and not something that I am proud of. So why on earth would I do a course that requires me to teach with bare feet? Because I need to. As uncomfortable as I was, I know that I have to do this. If anything, it will force me to work on my feet. Having to deliver classes with feet that I am ashamed of, will remind me of how some people feel about their bodies when they go to the gym and hopefully, I will improve my foot strength.
3. So familiar and yet not familiar – When I first started teaching in Melbourne in 1990, most fitness clubs had a barre around the room. It was normal to go to the barre and teach some exercises and yes, squats were called pliés. Using the light hand weights was the same as a format that was very popular called New Body and using the resistance bands on the barre was also another exercise repertoire that was taught. So there were lots of exercises that were familiar, but not having a scrap of D,ance training, there was a lot that I was not familiar with. Performing exercises on my toes, holding my arms in first, second and fifth position (what happened to third and forth position?) and rounding my back in a C curve (so used to doing everything in neutral position) was a learning curve. My brain was working overtime, and my muscles were trying to remember new patterns and adjust to a completely new way of moving. Tough, yes it was, but so refreshing. I was completely out of my comfort zone and especially when I looked around the room filled with people that had some dance background, I was definitely a fish out of water. My range of motion was smaller, and I kept making mistakes but it all seemed ok to me. I want to get this right. I want to do this with grace and ease and I want to appreciate the challenges that face my clients when they come to my classes and it is all so easy for me. What a wonderful way to remind myself what it is like to be a ‘first timer’ and not know how to do anything.
4. A room of personalities. When you put together 25 experienced instructors (some of us had known each other for years and are great friends) in a small space, learning something new, it is going to be FUN. Lots of laughter, lots of encouragement, lots of energy and fabulous comments, it was a very enjoyable two days. I really missed it on Monday morning when it was all over (my feet were happy), and now hoping to organise catch ups to learn this new format. Being that so much of this training was new, it was really really fantastic to share with friends that I knew well.
5. The only two males in the course were Brent de Clauzel, who is the regional group fitness manager for Goodlife and Luke Marino, the national group fitness manager for Goodlife. These two men were incredible. Both with extensive dance background, demonstrated that men can dance, move and do it gracefully! Not only did it make me more determined to get it right, but both were supportive and provided assistance to anyone that was struggling. WOW – and that is a big WOW. What amazing professionals and know that they are now leaders in the industry, gave me confidence that there was room to still have group exercise classes that the general population enjoys. Yes – people like to dance and people like to move like dancers. After years of ‘train hard or go home’ and ‘choreography is bad’, this is exciting stuff. They are great role models, not only from the Booty Barre perspective, but also as industry leaders.
The overall outcome of the experience? A big wow, smile and determination to not only complete the video and teach classes, but also to seek out new opportunities to do something different. It is often said that you need to do something that really scares you, well, I am not sure about the bit about being scared (can do that jumping out of a plane, but why????), but I definitely agree to with doing something that is not familiar and not comfortable. We usually try new things that only stretch us out a little bit, but not too much. I will put my hand up for being one of those people but when I have a body that can adapt and brain that is plastic, why just keep doing the same thing?