Hallelujah! Aqua Instructors have found their voice.
If you are not on social media or have been busy enjoying your summer holidays, you may not be aware of a series of viral posts that have captured the interest of aqua instructors over the past few weeks. It started off with a comment about FILEX not having aqua session on the schedule for 2018. It was like watching a bushfire, where the comments flew around faster than I could keep up with. It ended up with an assurance from Fitness Australia’s CEO Bill Moore, that aqua will definitely be on the FILEX schedule for 2019 and a number of forums being set up around Australia for aqua instructors to attend to discuss issues that have been topical, but not openly spoken about before.
Are you passionate about aqua?
Like anything on social media, people openly discuss what is important to them, and although I didn’t necessary agree with all of the comments, I was really happy to hear voices. Voices from aqua instructors. Voices that I have heard say things in workshops, but never on a public platform. Voices that were expressing a passion for aqua, their participants and the value that this form of exercise brings to a much wider community than many other formats gaining somewhat more attention than the water. Voices that were expressing the dissatisfaction with issues that have been tolerated for a long time due to a quiet acceptance that nothing would ever change. (more…)
It always seems appropriate to write a January blog about intentions and new resolutions to start the year in the right direction, whatever ‘right’ means for you. Well, this is blog is a recommendation from last year’s resolution. In 2017, I wanted to update and take control over my website. You see, a website is like a house, you have to find right the contractors, the right things to put in it and the design is important, as you don’t want to keep making a new one every year. This has to stand the test of time, at least 4 to 5 years before you need to completely change it up. It was time to change mine and it was time that I took control too.
The contractors that you get for your house can do a messy job, it might not be what you thought you would get and even though you paid top dollar, it is disappointing. This can sometimes be because of expectations that you had and perhaps the communication. The same applies to a website and this can be super frustrating. The other thing is often you can have your hands ‘handcuffed’ to your website developer, who has full control over your website and you find yourself politely asking again and again, if they could do some work… Meanwhile, you are stomping around your actual home and tearing out your hair and swearing your head off because they never seem to get back to you (like some building contractors).
Why I hated resistance bands and what changed my mind
90’s Fitness Fad?
I was first introduced to resistance bands early in my teaching career in the 1990’s. This long piece of elastic was recommended as a portable and effective form of resistance training. Having only used weights for resistance training, this concept intrigued me, only to be quickly disappointed.
Although the workshop presenter was very engaging and informative, I was frustrated as to how to anchor the bands and then perform the exercise. In addition to this, to add resistance, I had to either wrap the elastic band around my hand (thus reducing circulation to my fingers) or to grab and hold it firmly further down the band. This process was annoyingly repeated every time I performed an exercise – anchor, perhaps try another anchor, set up exercise, maybe anchor again, add resistance, lose circulation and then move…
Often the positions were complicated and awkward and left me annoyed, fustrated and losing interest fast.
Enter… the handle
When tubing with handles came onto the market, I discovered the new version that was even worse than the original!
In my opinion, the handles reduced the exercise options even further. I avoided anything to do with resistance bands after that. I chose to stick with what worked really well for me which was weights and body weight training, and subsequently my clients.
Some time later, a flyer came across my desk (when I was group fitness coordinator) advertising tubing attached to a stick! I thought ‘Oh my God! Just when I believed it couldn’t get any worse… it has morphed even further and turned into a comedy! What a ridiculously ineffective tool. NO THANK YOU!
Recently I received an email from an aqua instructor asking ‘Are you able to share ideas with me on how I can keep everyone happy in a class? The participants are of different ages, have different abilities and fitness levels and injuries and I am finding it a little hard to keep everyone happy’.
My response was that I don’t know how to make everyone happy. If I surveyed my clients, I am sure that most would have feedback about how the class could be better, and it would all conflict. Some would like it harder, some would like it easier, some would like more suspension, others would like none at all. I don’t know of any instructor that has successfully kept everyone happy. It is impossible to try to suit the needs of each individual in a group setting.
Coincidently, this instructor had asked for notes for myThe Chocolate Box DVD and found her answer in the summary that I had written so many years ago.
Develop an acceptance of change
See if you can make your aqua time slot a ‘Chocolate Box’ full of favourite and sweet surprises. Not everyone will love every chocolate, but will be happy to eat them anyway. Try different class concepts regularly, so that your loyal cliental do not develop a mind set of what should be delivered each week. Make them familiar with trying new ideas, so that they develop an acceptance of change.
There it was… the answer that had alluded me in that moment, but had wisdom to know a few years ago. The initial concept of The Chocolate Box had come from being inspired by the movie Forest Gump and in a scene, Forest says to a lady sitting on the same park bench, ‘My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ That quote has stayed with me throughout my career and personal life. The exciting thing about chocolate boxes, is that you don’t know what to expect as you choose one. Sometimes that they amazing, other times they are ok, but you are happy to eat them anyway. I figured that if I could focus on this with my classes, I could detach myself from any personal interpretations from feedback offered by well-meaning members. Having gone down that rabbit hole a few times, fulfilling individual expectations is impossible. You make a change that they have requested, to then get more feedback that it wasn’t what they wanted. Back and forth until you feel that you are losing your mind and motivation to teach the class.
Now moving forward, I am really happy that this quote was brought to my attention and my focus will again shift to appreciating each ‘chocolate surprise’ that my day brings.