So there I was, a fresh faced wannabe streetwise, wannabe group exercise presenter in 1993. I had gained local recognition with my hip hop classes and thought that the rest of the world needed to see my talents. So I started calling local gyms and health clubs offering my services for free (that is what we had to do in those days to gain a reputation). Unfortunately I was met with the same response when I proposed myself to teach them the best hip hop masterclass they had ever seen. “That’s nice but do you teach group exercise?”. I would reply yes, but my hip hop was what I was known for. “that’s great but what about your step!” It soon dawned on me that I would have to develop other skills if I was going to make it as a presenter.
This was going to be a challenge as at the time, group exercise was still very traditional, and I HATED step. But I went to a few conventions, and other masterclasses, saw what the other professionals at the time were doing and tried to have my own style. I was even persuaded to teach a step masterclass when a presenter dropped out at the last minute for an event. In fact it was the words from fellow UK presenter Helen Henderson, who told me to “just dance on the thing”, that made me realise that I could possibly actually enjoy this type of class.
So I thought I had it made. I was now a hip hopping, dance hi/long, stepping geezer, who was about to set the world alight (in my own mind). “But what’s your conditioning class like?” I heard, “ME? CONDITIONING? ARE YOU MAD? “Luckily at that point in time I started having personal training from Kelly Lane who worked in the States. She presented to me certain exercises that I knew were different to the normal legs, bums and tums classes, and that I could introduce to the group fitness format. Also got to know Julio Papi from Italy who had this amazing program called Powerstretch which was a user friendly doable stretch and flexibility class , based on the latest research that even a stiff board like me could do! I always said to myself that I would only present conditioning and/or stretch classes when I had something different to offer, and this was my passport into these fields of fitness
So finally I feel that I am someone that can offer a convention organiser something else than the latest MTV choreography. It has taken me over 10 years to get there, and I am still learning everyday. This is something that I have found even more valuable as now I am in charge of the programming for the International Fitness Showcase. With over 200 sessions I love the presenters that supply me with as wide a variety of classes as possible. Firstly it makes my life a lot easier, and secondly it shows to me that they are willing to make themselves as rounded a fitness professional as possible, and step out of their comfort zones. As Daley Thompson, world Decathlon Champion used to say, “Make your weakness your strengths, and you will always succeed.”
I have found that even though dance inspired fitness will always be my preference, I love teaching Powerstretch and conditioning workshops, as I know that I have increased my knowledge in learning about these disciplines, and love the response I get from delivering those programs
Even if you are not a presenter wannabe, there are so many articles, about so many different areas of the fitness industry that I feel it would be a shame to not step out of your comfort zone and develop new skills and new class formats. Trust me, studio co-ordinators will love you!
Oh and just as a matter of interest, my best selling videos out of the many that I have done are…………conditioning and step! Go figure??