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Reflections on fitness, wellness, health and more

Freestyle Instructors – where are you?

The following post was written by Jackelyn Ho from Crunch Fitness Australia.

When I was teaching at Crunch Fitness in America I taught a Sunday morning class called Killer X Training. I didn't even know what it meant. Was I supposed to read it as 'X Training' or 'Cross Training'? Oh, the questions that would keep me up at night. Anyway, Crunch never sat down with me and told me how to teach that class. To this day, I’m still not sure if I did what they wanted – all I know is that Sunday mornings were a guaranteed sweat fest and numbers were up to par. There was something so magical about being able to create my own class from scratch – no rules and no restrictions. Crunch wanted killer and I gave them killer. Welcome to the world of freestyle instructing.

Every Saturday night, I would stay up until 3am writing and rewriting workouts, looking up innovative moves and mixing my own music. I made it a point to always introduce something new to my students, whether it be using hand towels as gliding resistance or body bars hooked into anti-gravity yoga straps for pull-ups. Format-wise, I ended up developing a 60-minute class that incorporated bursts of high intensity intervals, functional strength movements and sweat-dripping suspension training. By the end of class, it looked like all my participants had taken a hot shower together.

You can imagine my disappointment when I moved to Sydney earlier this year and couldn’t find classes like that in many of the gyms. I gave some formats a chance, but there came a point when I couldn’t listen to 'Eye of the Tiger' one more time. My biceps didn’t want to curl anymore.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy those classes or get a good workout. What I missed was the sense of the unknown before coming into the group fitness studio. I wanted to be scared of the mystery workout ahead of me, not repeat what I had done last week.

As instructors, we have the opportunity to share our fitness knowledge with the rest of the world. I think that it’s time to gather up everything we’ve learnt in order to rediscover the adrenaline rush of creating our own moves and designing our own classes. Freestyle instructing is the original group exercise experience, but it's begun disappearing from our industry. It’s time we bring it back, stand our ground and declare the right to teach whatever it is we want to teach (as long as proper technique is executed and sweat drops are visible).

We were born to freely express ourselves in movement, not follow routines or stick to any written plan. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, for that’s where you will learn the most about yourself and make groundbreaking discoveries. We came into this industry with passion in our hearts. It’s time delve into your own database of creativity.

What about you? Do you have freestyle programs in your club, or do you teach freestyle classes? Did you used to but now stopped? And if you did stop, why?

If you think you have what it takes to be a freestyle instructor, you can get in touch with the V Club and Crunch team by emailing alissa@vclub.com.au or jackelyn@crunch.com.au.

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