Last weekend I was in Montreal attending my first ever Fitness Instructor conference. Part of being certified as an FIS (Fitness Instructor Specialist) requires me to earn CEC’s (continuing education credits) on a yearly basis.
Lucky for me, Énergie Cardio (the largest network of fitness centres in Québec) invited their partner GoodLife Fitness to participate in their quarterly summit. My motivation to attend this conference in particular was because one of my favourite Les Mills instructors from New Zealand was going to present the latest releases of BodyPump and CXWORX (the two disciplines I am certified in).
Les Mills is a New Zealand company that is the world’s largest provider of group fitness classes. They license out the rights to their many classes (including BodyAttack, BodyPump, RPM, CXWORX just to name a few) to GoodLife Fitness here in Canada. Les Mills has a global presence with their classes being offered in 14,000 fitness clubs, 90,000 certified instructors and millions of participants from 80 countries. Every four months, Les Mills creates a Masterclass release with new music, choreography, and fitness innovations. These releases are filmed and presented in their main studio in Auckland, and sent out as DVDs to the instructors around the world. One instructor who is prominently featured on the DVDs is Susan Renata. Susan is Les Mills’ International Body Pump Head Trainer and her job is to travel around the world educating on technique, advanced training and coaching skills.
For me and other BodyPump instructors, Susan is considered a star in the fitness industry. This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in BodyPump release 85 led by Susan. Since getting my certification I’ve taught hundreds of classes but have never experienced a class like the one I did this weekend.
Upon arrival at the conference at 7:30am, there was an enormous line up of fitness instructors wearing their Les Mills gear and anxiously waiting to enter the room. In the background you could hear chatter, “I think I just saw Susan Renata walk that way! No way, where I don’t see her??” The class was to start at 8am and at 7:59am, when the doors opened, BOOM it was chaos as instructors ran into the room like cheetahs chasing their prey. Only this time, the prey was the bench closest to the stage. I felt like I was in the heat of a Boxing Day sale when there are only a limited number of door crasher items available! Entering the room, I did a mad sprint to claim my territory. Success! Second row centre. The stage was illuminated with bright colourful spotlights, videos and loud upbeat music. I set up my weights, checked my water, put on my weight gloves and stopped for a second and thought “Why am I nervous?!”, it must have been the big rush of adrenalin! Then, the lights dimmed, and over the speaker we heard “Introducing the Énergie Cardio BodyPump Team!” The four lucky instructors who were team teaching with Susan stepped on stage and then finally after a short pause, “Let’s give it up for SUSAN RENATA!” The crowd went crazy!
There she was, “Hello Montreal, are we ready?”, in her cool Kiwi Accent. I was at the best concert of my life! Seeing Susan on stage for me was the same feeling you get when you see your favourite band or singer live on stage. Only this time, I was participating in a fitness class and the “rockstar” was motivating me, perfecting my technique and pushing me to work every last muscle fibre in my body!
When you have a room full of extremely high energy fitness instructors led by Susan I’m sure you can imagine the fitness magic that occurs! Release 85 is a very challenging release filled with hundreds of repetitions of squats, walking push ups and plyometric straddle jumps but doing it at the conference made me feel anything but exhausted. Afterwards I felt completely re-energized and was amazed how I was able to push my limits!
Susan is a superstar in the industry so it was refreshing to see that after doing the class and meeting her that she is completely down to earth, approachable and as passionate an educator and ambassador for the fitness industry as she seems on DVD.
This experience has definitely motivated me to bring what I’ve learned back to my members in my community.
My commitment is to simulate a similar experience for the upcoming release week starting April 22nd. Challenge yourself and come join us at Goodlife Fitness this week and see for yourself! (Free passes available) I can guarantee you will work hard, push your fitness levels and become stronger through each rep!
Thank you to Énergie Cardio for putting on this well organized event of fitness workshops and classes!