Looking through my social media feed this week has brought back memories. Les Mills Live 2017 is also around the corner!
It’s been about a year now since I became a fully fledged member of the UK Presenter Team, and seeing other people do the same this year has made me reflect on what a year it has been! I have also moved house, moved country and started (am about to finish) my Masters Degree. Overall I’ve been a very busy bee.
But how has the year been? What’s it really like to be a Presenter? Here’s a snapshot of my experiences over the last 12 months of being a part of the Best Trainer, Assessor and Presenter Team in the world (true fact – Les Mills give us an award for this!).
1. Being in front of people is less than 10% of the job.
Being on stage for a quarterly workshop, or a Les Mills Live, is fantastic, no doubt about it. But this is only half the story. In fact, it’s less than 10% of the story. The majority of time being a Presenter is about the preparation for all of the cool things. When I was not a member of the Team, I (naively) thought that all of the Presenters at events were just that good, and did not spend a second thought on any hard work that may have gone in to get them to the few seconds of glory. Well, let me tell you, it is HARD WORK.
Let’s take an example of a quarterly workshop that I did recently. Obviously I needed to master the 5 key elements in my instructing, that goes without saying. But I also needed to study the masterclass DVD to make sure I wasn’t unwittingly copying the masterclass presenters, and genuinely taught from a place of originality. Then there is the learning of the education for the workshop. This requires learning of the content, then practising with the content by going through what you’re going to say word for word, then repeating and filming yourself to make sure you’re not moving around weird, or touching your face (who knew how often I do that?!), or sounding like a pillock.
(the pic is of me prepping for a workshop on the day I was moving house)
2. There a lot of travelling involved – and it isn’t glamorous!
When I didn’t travel a lot for my job, my parter did. I used to think that she was living the high life, drinking champagne and chatting to millionaires (then I went on a trip to Australia with her for work and all we did was drink champagne and talk to rich people: then I knew that was what she was doing). Anyway, when I started to travel on a regular basis I realised there is SO MUCH ‘dead time’: the times when you cannot do anything else but wait in a queue, wait for boarding to start, wait until after takeoff to start working on your laptop, wait for passport control, wait to pick up your baggage, etc. Even if the flight time is only an hour, the total journey time is so much longer, and it’s mostly unproductive. Not only that, but there are weeks and weeks when you are away from home every weekend and you end up buying an office wall planner to put on your kitchen wall so that you and your aforementioned partner have any chance of being in the house on the same weekend once every three months!
3. Everybody on the team is human (yep, even the scary ones!).
From the outside looking in, the Les Mills UK team are formidable. They are athletes, every last member, and, quite frankly, that can seem a little intimidating! They can have that aura of unachievability about them; that ‘a little too perfect’ thing. But the main thing that I have learnt over the past 12 months is that they are humans too. They too have self doubts, body image issues, physicality worries (yep, even the super athletes). In fact, they worry about the same things that you and me worry about (and now I am one of them I probably worry more about some things than I did before!).
4. “Followers” are awesome but it’s changing lives that matters.
I have known a few people who expected to become “famous” once they had made the team. Don’t get me wrong, we all like increasing our followings on social media (incidentally here are links to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) but honestly, nothing gives me more of a buzz than knowing I’m actually making a difference. Sure, some (lots) of what me and the Trainer Team post is as daft as everyone else, but lots of it is about trying to inspire people to start or continue with their fitness journey. It’s not about me, but about the difference I might be able to make.
5. Leading Initial Module Training is an incredible privilege.
I have done much more work for Les Mills UK over the past 12 months as a Trainer than as a Presenter. To clarify, Trainers deliver Modules to train or up-skill instructors. Presenters do the big stage stuff at shows, and teach quarterly workshops and masterclasses. I’m lucky enough to be both. Being a Trainer is the best thing about being a part of Les Mills UK for me.
To see people grow in the space of a couple of days from zero to hero is awesome. I have seen people come from being really shy, nervous, having never taught before, to being rock stars after only 2 days of training. The difference you make to people’s lives, both directly through training them, and indirectly through the lives they go on to influence, is awesome, and it’s absolutely why I became a fitness professional in the first place (12 years ago).
6. I have made some awesome new friends.
See you in London for Les Mills Live – if you still haven’t got tickets, I believe there are a few places still available!