BodyBalance Buzz

BodyBalance logo (c) Les MillsI’m sitting here typing this smiling inside with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. You might ask why, since it’s so early in the morning. Well, for the first time, I team-taught a BodyBalance class this morning at Fitness First ABS-CBN.

Because I passed the BodyBalance audition last month, I underwent training (Modules 1 and 2) over last weekend from Saturday to Monday at Fitness First Manila. My general impression of those three days was that it was like another reality. For one thing, that was the first time I’d ever been to the Manila branch. Another thing is because those three days were packed full of activities to do and information to digest, my world was the gym, the trainers Mr. Frank Drew and Ms. Peewee Sanchez, and my fellow trainees.

We trainees were a motley crew of instructors of other group exercise programs, BodyBalance fanatics, and inexperienced but talented newbies (ahem, ahem, a little bit of tongue-in-cheek humor there Ü). On the first day we were welcomed into the whole Les Mills culture, were given our training manuals and CDs, and then did a master class and an in-depth technique session. At the end of the day we were all assigned a track to master from the release we were training on (BodyBalance 35). I was given Track 4 “Breathe” by Sia to learn in time for presenting the next morning. It’s a balance track with moves like Tree Pose, Eagle Pose, Dancer’s Pose, and Warrior III, and I had to cue them properly for participants while keeping in time with the music and showing role model technique myself.

We presented twice on Day 2: after the first one in the morning (after a nice ice-breaking yoga session with Peewee — I love Lion Pose!) we were given constructive feedback to integrate into our second presentation which ended the day. By then we’d pretty much begun to understand the essence of the program and our role in giving participants not just a workout, but an experience in itself.

At the end of Day 2 we were each given another track to present twice on Day 3. Track 5 “No Worries” by Simon Webbe is a hip-opening track, which I think is one of my strengths. It was easier for me to master the choreography, perform with correct technique, and coach participants through the poses. This gave me enough mental space to start connecting with class members and really enjoy the whole thing. Our final presentation was make-or-break and would determine whether we’d be cleared to instruct or to shadow.

We were all assembled in the members’ lounge waiting for each of us to be called to a one-on-one meeting with Ms. Peewee. She’d already told me during Day 3’s first presentation that I had shown more than what was necessary to pass this initial training, but as I sat down in front of her I was still apprehensive.

Peewee: O, why is your face like that?
Noelle: (embarrassed) I’m just really tired?
Peewee: OK. (pause) You know, you were a surprise. Mader Fhe was right to send you to audition because she saw something in you.

Peewee went on to tell me that I had fulfilled what they were looking for (what stuck with me is she said I looked and moved like an instructor). So, she marked me as “Cleared to Instruct.”

I seriously did not know how to react. I wanted to hug her and start skipping around, but the rest of my batchmates who hadn’t yet been told their fates would be offended. So I thanked her, got up, and sat with the rest of the group as I wrote down some short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals in my training manual. I tried not to give anything away, but Frank let the cat out of the bag by giving me my certificate and other walking papers while he congratulated me in front of everyone else. I felt abashed and could only let out a strangled “Wow” and a smile as he told me what I could start doing.

I still have to script and prep the rest of the tracks on the current release as well as start on those for release 36 (which we’ll be launching next month for sure). I attended a Balance class last night at FF Ortigas taught by Arnold Warren (also one of the program trainers for BodyJam here in the Philippines), and he gave me some advice on how I could get started as an instructor. And then this morning AG and my fellow trainee newbie Balance instructor CJ invited me up on stage with them, and I got to do the entire class from the instructor’s side as well as present the balance track. Ü

I really do enjoy this and I hope I excel at this new endeavor. I may be an instructor of a group exercise program that’s supposed to leave you calm and centered, but I am definitely buzzed about it!

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