Seeing the World’s absolute best… and worst.
Posted July 20, 2010on:
So we’re officially half way through our month-long mini world tour. First stop was Dubai.
Now Dubai is known for many things; its economy; its INCREDIBLE buildings; its culture; even its man-made islands! One thing it’s not renowned for is its group fitness… but perhaps it should be. Make no mistake travelling is tough on the ol’ midsection. You eat out every meal. You sit for long periods on airplanes. And you face jet lag, which can make you feel lethargic which can make you move even less. And, I don’t know about you, but personally I find it very difficult to relax unless I know I’ve exercised – or, have exercise planned at some stage for the day. So, to counter all of that we make a pact to try to get in as many classes as we practically could. In fact, we arrived in Dubai at around 6am, checked into our hotel, and jumped straight online to try to find the nearest class (hey we’d been sitting for well over 20 hours we need to move!) We found a BODYCOMBAT class at a nearby gym and pretty much went straight there. The class was, well, okay. The teaching was good but it was the release of BC44 (you guys probably know my feelings on that release!) yet for some reason they only taught tracks 1-4, 6, 8 then the cooldown. Although we hadn’t paid for the class I’d probably be a tad frustrated if we had… after all why have a recovery track (track 6) if the class is only 45 minutes? It wasn’t much of a workout and I began to wonder if we coming from NZ (the home of Les Mills) we’d set out expectations a bit high.
Turns out I needn’t have worried as the following day we were invited to “The Aviation Club“. Now, if you’re ever visiting Dubai this is the place to go. The instructors are without a doubt WORLD CLASS. We did numerous BODYPUMP, BODYATTACK and BODYCOMBAT classes there with a variety of instructors and every single class was absolutely fantastic. Amir, Simon, Linda, Basel and Jo thank you so much for inviting us into your club and showing us how it’s done. I had the pleasure of team teaching a couple of pump classes with Amir, and, well, let’s just say I now know why his nickname is “King Kong” – the guy is a machine! Even with a busted foot he absolutely smashed it! We did our first pump class with him on day 2 of our trip – when we were still on NZ time. The class started at 7:30pm Dubai time, which was 3:30am for us! Not that we’d have noticed, the moment the class started any jet lag we had went straight out the door. The Aviation Club has awesome classes, brilliant members and phenomenal instructors. I can’t say it enough; if you go to Dubai – go to the Aviation Club to train. Experience pump King Kong style! Simple as that.
However, as you can probably tell by the title of this post things didn’t quite stay on that high note. Now I don’t want you to think I’m some sort of crazy instructor critic. I’m not. I know we all have off days. I know we all make chorey mistakes from time to time. To me, accidentally switching out 2-2s for 3-1s in pump is no big deal. Cueing 8 bottom halves instead of two sets of 4s is no big deal. Cueing an upper cut off the front arm instead of the back in bodycombat – at the end of the day what does it matter, we’re still going to get effectively the same workout right? It happens! No biggy. However I do expect a couple of things when I attend a Les Mills group fitness class. Number one, I’d expect the instructor to follow the Les Mills prescribed format (this kinda goes without saying doesn’t it?). I’d expect maybe 95% of the chorey to be correct (again we all have brain farts – its part of the fun!), and I’d expect a certain level of proper technique and proper coaching. I’m not a nazi about this, I realise some instructors have been teaching a lot longer than others and therefore there will be some whose tech/coaching isn’t perfect (hey, I’m pretty new to this teaching thing myself mine needs a lot of work so I can’t talk there!) I also know everyone teaches differently and every instructor is different – but for the most part you do expect a certain level of consistency and professionalism – after all – the instructor has obviously passed their certification in the programme they’re teaching… right?
Well maybe not. I’m going to name names, nor name clubs but a couple of days ago I witnessed without a doubt the worst example of teaching I’ve ever seen. Imagine an instructor who walks in late, turns on the music and picks up the bar. No intro, no set position, nothing. Then imagine that instructor constantly stops their movements to consult their choreography notes DURING the track. Then imagine they make changes the class structure and then teach a warm up (Release Me) as a tricep track and just make all the choreography up! I’m not kidding. Compared to the above their other faults seem minor but I’ll mention them anyway; their 2-2s and 3-1s were indistinguishable (I always follow the instructors timing out of respect – even if it’s wrong – so I paid close attention to this). The chorey on the tracks they didn’t just make up was all wrong, and their tech was dreadful (squats right to the floor, bent over rows right to the ankles etc.). I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life… Stopping midway to read their chorey notes off the floor next to the bench? WTF?!! THANKFULLY we’d downloaded a free pass off the net and didn’t have to pay as the casual rate for this gym was NZ$80 each. Can you imagine how furious you’d be if you’d paid $160 for that class?!
I can only hope that maybe this person was called in, at the very last moment to cover this class and as a result had zero chance to prepare. It still doesn’t excuse some of their actions but it’s literally the only way I can possibly rationalise what happened… even then I’m really struggling to fathom the whole thing.
On the plus side, with two weeks left in our trip the only way is up!