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How to Build a PT Business from your Group Ex Squad

How to Introduce PT to your Group Ex clients!

With everything we have had to deal with in group ex over the last 15 months, it’s no wonder lots of instructors are adding personal training to their skill set. It can be used to target the same people who come to our classes, it can be done online or in-person with minimal hassle and has probably been the one part of the fitness industry that has stayed relatively consistent in recent months. It also gives our body a rest… which is handy when we do what we do.

PT compliments group exercise pretty well. I use it to add on an extra layer of technique, form & training to my weight-lifting clients. Helping your ‘average’ woman, with all the pressures of life, to love her body via the mode of picking up heavy stuff is my niche. But it wasn’t always. 

When I first started personal training 10 years ago, I made a lot of mistakes. Mistakes that led me to leave it completely and only focus on group exercise. I only came back to it about 3 years ago because I realised I was doing myself a disservice by passing my weightlifting clients on to someone else. Someone who was fantastic at their job but who had a different method and end game for my clients than I would have preferred, and whilst I admired their skill, I knew I could get my clients to where they wanted to be.

This time around I was strict with myself. I made decisions on how things were going to be, and I followed them. It made me uncomfortable & nervous at first, but I stuck to my guns, and now, I have found a love for personal training that is just as intense as the way I feel about my group ex classes. I love it because this time around it is a direct reflection of my values both as a person and as a business owner. 

Check out the post on Instagram by clicking on the photo…..

 
Here are my top tips for getting it right from day one, straight from someone who didn’t have anyone to ask if they were making the right choice. Every PT is different but these have made such a difference to me and allowed me to be invested and to enjoy every session fully without worrying about every awkward conversation I might need to have at the end.
  1. If you are brand new, it’s common practice to offer discounted sessions so you can get experience, results and recommendations without having any social proof. It’s a good idea. Personal training is an investment for most people, they want to know you are awesome before they hand over large amounts of money.  The key with this is to make sure you communicate the end date of the discounted sessions, that way no one can get the hump with you when your ‘practicing’ comes to an end and your prices go up. 
  1. Write a template contract containing terms & conditions including your cancellation policy, your invoice terms and anything else you need them to know. Get it e-signed and store it yourself as well as somewhere your client has easy access. Know your T&Cs and decide in your head, the type of circumstances where you might allow your client to roll over the session. You are communicating the value of your session, when you feel undervalued it will erode your confidence & your enjoyment. Some of the responsibility for that lies with you to set the standard for what you expect. 
  1.  If you’ve been teaching a while, you will have developed a niche of some kind whether you realise it or not. It could be something obvious like pre/post-natal women, strength athletes, older clients. But it could be something you can’t quite put into words. Think about who you want to train and where you want to take them, this will show you how to word your marketing copy…. And who to say yes to. Which brings me on to my next point. 
  1. Do not say yes to everyone. At the beginning, sure, you might have to. You’re not certain who you even want to train right now, and you need to work that out. But after a few months it will start to become apparent, maybe you prefer training folk who are into high rep, high intensity CrossFit style sessions, maybe it’s amateur athletes, maybe it’s physiques, maybe it’s mobility, maybe it’s post rehab clients. It might not even be so obvious as that. For example, I like to train women who come from a dance fitness background, who have fallen in love with exercise. They plucked up the courage to start doing my resistance classes a while ago and now they’re ready to take it to the next level. When I first started out, I said yes to everyone. I trained a lot of business people who had plenty of spare cash but did not see the need to commit to the process in the way that I wanted them to. It made me feel crap at my job. Even though I loved them all as people, I frequently wished that I didn’t have to go that day. They were just not my market. They would be someone else’s DREAM to train! Listen to your gut, if someone doesn’t sound like your kind of client then chances are they are not. I’m not afraid to say no now, in a nice way, especially if they want me to train them in cardio (my worst nightmare one on one) – they are someone else’s ideal client. I refer them on to a colleague who will do a much better job than me, I get to work within my happy place whilst the client gets to train in theirs with a PT who loves it too. 
  1. Choose the hours you want to PT in and stick to them. If you have to constantly roll a client over into a timeslot that you needed to do something else, you will be resentful and you won’t be fully invested in their journey. Being mostly strict (with a teenie bit of flexibility) means that everyone know where they stand and that you are getting enough time to do your other work.
  1. Don’t be afraid not to work the same hours as everyone else. I used to PT someone at 6am because it was the done thing. Sometimes, I used to cry the night before because obviously group ex is such a late finish, I was so tired and I couldn’t handle getting up at 5am, so now the earliest I will do is 7:15am and I stick to it religiously. Your wants and needs matter too! 
  1. It’s completely possible to create workout programs for your PT clients around your class plans…. That way both services complement one another and help your clients move closer toward their goals. It also means they are getting a complete solution to their problems because everything feels tailored around what they need and want from you. Don’t forget about your On Demand content. Your clients might need extra cardio to do at home or some home workouts…. You can easily create new OD workouts especially for them but release it out to everyone or simply use stuff you have already filmed to bolster the service to your new PT clients. 
  1. Money. Avoiding taking cash on the day changed my life. What happens if they cancel? What happens if they forget their money? Do I really have the balls to insist they transfer it then and there? What if they promise they would do 10 sessions at a discounted rate but then decide of their own accord to pay weekly…. That’s not the point of giving a discount. The easiest way to manage expectations over money is to make it clear in the contract. I always sign-up new clients on a package now, so I know that the 3 hours it will take me to onboard them with nutrition, workouts and extras is covered. They pay via invoice a minimum of 6 days before the start of their first session. That means I have 6 days to onboard them and ensure they have everything that they need. You do most of the work BEFORE the client even starts, that means you should be paid before you start doing that work. Take it from someone who knows how frustrating it is to turn up to a session at 6am, with their plans all done and the client message to say they’re not coming, and neither is your money. Use cheap invoicing software like QuickBooks or similar, to manage your PT client income and stay on top of your payments. It will look more professional, and you can ask it to send reminders which will look automated even when they are not (handy when you hate chasing up). Remind yourself that money is not a dirty word. Your client is getting a service and has signed a contract on how that service will be delivered…. It is absolutely fine for you to want to be paid for that service. Domino’s don’t hand over the pizza without the money and neither should we. 
  1. The way you plan a session today will not be the way you plan it in 6 month’s time. That will continue throughout your career. The more you learn, the more you will change your methods. That is OK. That is what learning is about. Never feel that you should wait until you know more. Just do what you can with what you know and carry on being a giant geek and gaining as much knowledge as possible. Everyone is in the same boat. No-one popped out of the womb with a Masters in Biomechanics. 

PT is probably one of the most rewarding experiences. It is something quite magical to create a program, plan and method to help someone who’s goals you feel an affinity with, and to be there at the finish line when they achieve what they set out to. It’s different to group exercise but it can be good different, and can frequently create some balance around always being the entertainer and instead bring a focus to the less ‘exciting’ but physically important parts of the type of fitness that you are skilled in.  

I LOVE dance fitness. I love music. I love showing off. I love helping other people show off. But I also love lifting weights and I really love helping women love it too, watching their confidence soar and their leggings turn into shorts and their oversized jumpers turn into vests purely because they have learned to love and be proud of their bodies & their skill. Exactly the way that they are. 

Being a militant contract writer and T&Cs geek just means I get to do this with no hassle, without feeling uncomfortable and with all the joy at helping someone feel amazing, the way that personal training was supposed to be. 

 

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Top 5 Courses/Qualifications for ETM Instructors After Qualifying

Top 5 Courses/Qualifications for ETM Instructors After Qualifying

There are no two ways about it, group exercise is the mainstream and people of all shapes, sizes and interests are attracted to classes each and every week. The numbers back this up as well. A recently industry survey found that 4.86 million participants per week take part in group exercise. This only seems to be increasing year on year.

If you’re already qualified in exercise to music then you really don’t really need us to tell you how exciting being instructor is, but what if you’re keen to grow your audience and branch out into other things? There are obviously a couple of ways to do this, one being to teach more classes or more locations. Another is to increase the services you offer and the range of clients you can work with. This is where CPD and new qualifications come into play.

The beauty about our top 5 is a lot of the hard work has already been done when you gained your Level 2 Exercise to Music qualification, in terms of entry requirements. The following will help you take things to the next level…

Pre and Postnatal

It’s not that long ago that pregnant women were told to put their feet and just take things easy. It’s a fact that rest is going to be important for mother and baby, but now pregnant women are being encouraged to remain as physically active as possible, for as long as they possibly can.

The Level 3 Pre and Postnatal Exercise Instructor course is designed to help you get more people moving. It’s a great opportunity for exercise to music instructors to expand their horizons and learn about exercise guidelines for pre and postnatal clients; nutrition and pregnancy; child birth and more.

With this information, you’ll be able to welcome pre and postnatal women into your classes with open arms.

Gym Instructor

A bit of a change of pace if you’re only used to working in a studio. This qualification greatly expands your repertoire allowing you to also work with clients on the gym floor. Also, if you ever have designs on becoming a personal trainer, then the Level 2 Gym Instructor acts an entry to requirement for that qualification.

As a gym instructor, day to day you’ll be involved with performing inductions for new members, giving diet advice, maintaining exercise equipment and planning sessions for clients. 

Pilates

If you’re already comfortable in a studio setting, mat-based Pilates is a great string to add to your bow. This qualification helps you get to grips with founder Joseph Pilates’ original techniques and concepts. From there you’ll be able to teach your own classes and help participants gain a range of strengthening and flexibility benefits.

After qualifying in mat Pilates, a reformer Pilates course is the next logical step and it’ll help you get hands on with the specialised universal reformer. 

Yoga

There are plenty of similarities between yoga and Pilates though many choose the path of yoga for its holistic and even spiritual benefits. Becoming a fully qualified yoga teacher is a great way to ensure your clients develop a strong, mind, body and spirit collection. It also acts as the perfect complement to a higher energy and more intensive exercise to music class.

As with other courses on this list, there are no formal prerequisites, so providing you have an interest in yoga, you’ll be able to pick things up really easily.




Older Adults

As with the pre and postnatal CPD, Level 3 Exercise for Older Adults is fantastic opportunity for you to widen you client base. The NHS predicts that life expectancy will rise to the late 80s by 2030 so demands for your services is only going to increase.

This course tackles a range of interesting subjects including anatomical and physiological ageing, the benefits of exercise for older adults and behaviour change and motivation.

About the author

Written by Josh Douglas-Walton, a writer for HFE, the UK’s leading provider of exercise to music courses and fitness instructor qualifications including personal training, Pilates and yoga.

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YOU are the bomb! <3

YOU are the bomb! <3

This is something I think I have always struggled to get my head around…… and definitely something that still pops up every time I start a new project, one that’s pushing me outside of my comfort zone.

The thing is, you do not have to be the best in the world to have something worthwhile to give. Just because when you look at other people  YOU regard them as being better than you or more successful or more knowledgeable, this is not necessarily so and even if it is, it doesn’t matter.There are always people that will learn from you. That you can show a new path to, that you can inspire to make a life change, who’s life you can affect in a positive way. The reality is that passion, hustle and hard-work are the key in getting what you want, what you really really want. Zigazigah.

We spend our lives comparing ourselves to other people. How they look, what they do, what they have achieved. Whilst all of these things can serve to inspire us and give us something to aim for, at the same time it can be the achievements of our peers which may lead us to question ourselves and how adequate we are for the task we have set ourselves.

The real truth is, you are enough. You have the knowledge, the character and the inner energy to enrich someone’s life. Time to bring the hustle and the concentration to make it happen.

Every day we put stumbling blocks in our own way….. reason upon reason why something won’t succeed and why we aren’t good enough to do it. I am never ever going to argue in the face of upskilling and continued education, and as an industry, we owe it to our clients to continue learning. All I’m saying is, YOU are awesome, WE are awesome. Whether Mary next door has more dance skills than you doesn’t mean she’s a bellend OR that you shouldn’t do your dance fitness class. EVERYONE has something to give and there will be someone out there that can ONLY start their journey with you. For some people, they need to meet someone with the same energy and vibe that they need at that exact point….. And that person could be you.I guess all I’m saying is….. We do an amazing, fun, tough, happy, emotional, thankful, draining, magical, hardworking job…… high five yourself for doing it bloody well. NOONE does it like you. And that is why your class think you are frigging ace.

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The Top 5 Things I Wish I’d Learned How To Do Earlier

The Top 5 Things I Wish I’d Learned How To Do Earlier

 1. SAY NO

To the class, we don’t want to take on, to the crap rates from some facilities, to the person who gave a positive PAR-Q and we don’t think we are insured to teach, we constantly feel under pressure to say yes. I think it’s a general human quality that is magnified because we feel genuinely lucky to be doing a job we love. The thing is, it is still a job which pays our bills and hopefully affords us a social life with the people that we love. If it’s not worth prepping the class, driving to the venue, teaching the class and then driving home all for £20 then it’s not worth it end of. And as for the PAR-Qs….. I know we want to be inclusive and I know we hate turning people away, but if you’re not insured and you’re not comfortable then you’re going to have to get used to it. It is just part and parcel of the job.

2. CUT CLASSES WITHOUT BEATING MYSELF UP FOR 3 MONTHS BEFOREHAND

We all know this one right…. a year ago this was the busiest class on our timetable, now no-one wants to know. It’s a tough one to get our heads around but we have to learn to do it and move on. Yes some of our participants will be sad but it’s weighing up how much you are prepared to let that affect your income, your self-confidence and your love for the job.

3. HOW TO DEAL WITH OCCASIONAL ASSHOLE/6 FOOT HUMAN THAT INSISTS ON STANDS IN FRONT OF YOU EVERY CLASS 

This is the kind of situation that everyone develops a different coping strategy for… there is no right or wrong. For me it’s forceful banter…. after all it’s my class and I’m the boss right?

A few years ago I turned up to cover Zumba in a posh area now I hate covering, in fact to the point I no longer do it unless it’s for an absolute best friend. This woman came up to me and actually snarled ‘Well I hope you’re good, Mary is amazing’. Now I was outraged that anyone could go out of their way to try to make someone feel small so I smiled at her with eyes like death and I said ‘Lucky for you I’m fucking awesome’ and I walked off to set my music up. Some people are just c#nts for fun, don’t let them get to you. Also I think for me I don’t give a f#ck if I piss off a group ex-manager or not, I try hard to be good at my job, I’m polite to people even if I want to choke them with their 0.5kg dumbbell, but if they’re actually rude they can sit and swivel as far as I’m concerned. That’s how I am in life so I don’t see why it should be any different for work.

4. HOW TO UNLEASH MY INNER PERSONALITY INFRONT OF A ROOMFUL OF PEOPLE I BARELY KNOW

Now I really think this is down to committing to the moment. Stop worrying about whether you know the choreo, whether Betty in the front row thinks you’re a twat or whether you might have just peed yourself a bit on that tuck jump. Live in the moment, be 75% of the person you are with your best people and have a ball. What goes down in the studio stays in the studio….. it’s your stage and you are there to make them feel like it’s their stage too…. if you can’t lose yourself in the music how can you expect them to! It takes ages for some of us. To stop pretending to do it like other people…. and just be happy with the goober that we are. But we all get there eventually. And if you don’t, try imagining it’s 11pm and you’re a bottle of prosecco down. That might help!

5. RELAXING ON THE PREP

Each class doesn’t have the content of a Broadway musical or a bodybuilding.com program. As long as your people are getting a good workout, learning a little something new every week or getting better at what they do know then your job is done. The aim of the game isn’t to wow the fitness world with your prowess, it’s  get your bodies the results they are after. Simples! And if you’re not, get your head in some books…. upskilling is the route to avoiding getting stuck in a rut when it comes to class content and current training protocols!

All in all you guys do a fab job so cut yourself some slack. You’ve got this shizzle!

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LOSE WEIGHT, TONE UP & feel AMAZING right NOW!!!

LOSE WEIGHT, TONE UP & feel AMAZING right NOW!!!

After the miracle solution huh?! Well here it is:

Pull your finger out your ass and drop the excuses

Yup. That’s it. Let’s do it. What is holding you back?

People will try and sell you a miracle solution. A pill you can take, a shake you can drink, an exercise you can do. It’s all bollocks. EVERYTHING works for a short period of time and then you’re up shit creek stuck in a plateau thinking ‘being healthy just didn’t work for me’.

What motivates you is almost irrelevant. A lot of people are vain as hell (I’m not excluding myself there!) and want to look as machine like as they can, however it’s a load of old crap really. At the end of the day there’s bugger all point to looking good if it’s an effort to get yourself out of the chair/run for the bus/play with the kids in the garden. I don’t know about everyone else but the thought of being in my 70’s and being unable to enjoy life scares the sh*t out of me. And exercise & diet play a massive role in maintaining muscle mass, flexibility and the energy levels required to live a full and happy life.

In the fitness game, all we hear is excuses…. why someone can’t make it, why they can’t finish their set, why they’re too busy to walk for 10 minutes a day. We are used to this, it’s standard, in fact as soon as we hear one coming most of us zone out.

What we like to hear are reasons & solutions…… ‘I couldn’t make it to class last night because **** didn’t make it home from work to take this kids but I did my Insanity DVD instead’, ‘I can’t do this exercise because it makes my **** hurt, what can I do instead?’. For every person who’s too tired after work there’s one that bribed the neighbour to look after the kids so he/she could pop out for a run. Every time one person tells me ‘I just get home (at 7pm I’d like to add) and it’s just too late by the time I’ve got in and changed my clothes and had something to eat’, I just want to scream ‘eat on the frigging train home and take your workout gear to work with you then’. In almost everyone’s life there is a solution to the issue of fitting in exercise even if it’s not exactly what you want to do and when.

Fit pros like it when you train with us. That’s how we make money. However this isn’t the best-paid industry in the world and we’d definitely be richer with a conventional job, so it’s safe to say we don’t give a shit where or who you train with as long as you are moving! We are in this job because we love fitness, we love helping and motivating people and we are SO HAPPY for you if you make a lifestyle change regardless or what or who it’s with.

From a beginner’s point of view, pick something that takes your fancy and stick to it for a minimum of 12 weeks. Whatever you can fit in. During these 12 weeks educate yourself. Follow fitpros on Insta…. get some recipe ideas, some nutrition tips. Chat to fitness friends (not ones that sell HerbaSh*te or Forever Dying they don’t get it) and suck in their magical knowledge. Yep going to aerobics class once a week may make a difference in the beginning but you are gonna have to step it up after a while and what are you going to have to step it up to? It’s worth doing the research so you can avoid getting bored or becoming demotivated.

Some form of resistance training will have to go in there at some point to get the results you want. I like muscles. That’s not for everyone. Pick a form of resistance training that you like the look of…. whether it’s functional bodyweight stuff, dangling from a TRX, stroking a kettlebell or pumping iron with the big boys at the back of the gym, there is always SOMETHING which you won’t detest. And you might even end up liking it!

The same applies with diet. Yep it’s confusing with all the mixed messages out there but take it from me…. if you get advice from someone and it sounds like bollocks then it probably is. If they don’t know the correct words for macro and micronutrients and start trying to sell you some mail order looking product then smile sweetly and walk away. Eat healthily. Drink water. Shower in vegetables. Lick some decent protein! Avoid processed muck and read up on how much is too much for someone of your build and size. Eating a decent diet isn’t just for people that want to look different, your nutrition plays a massive role in your performance, in how lethargic and bloated you feel etc.

It’s your call. It’s your body. It’s your life. But I’ll be buggered if I’m letting fear, self-consciousness or apathy get in the way of me enjoying every last second and all of us sweaty fit pros want to motivate other people to feel the same.

By the way I’m writing this on a hill and on every side of it there’s a half nakedmiddle aged man in a suit. I feel like I might have inadvertently put myself in the middle of Fight Club. If I’ve got a black eye tomorrow then you know I joined in!

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Why do some people manage to stick to a workout regime…….

Why do some people manage to stick to a workout regime....... and other's fail miserably?

So I was thinking this morning, what is different about the people that stick to an exercise program – or what is different about that person at that exact time in their lives? Why do some people get better results, and why do other’s end up feeling like they are wasting their time.

Here’s what came to mind…….

1. CONSISTENCY –
they set themselves a schedule and come hell or high water they stick to it. Almost nothing will get in the way of their exercise…. They fully realise how important it is for themselves and their families to stay healthy and so they do it. End of.  Some people like having a timetable and are not easily swayed from it. This helps massively with keeping on target with any type of exercise plan.

2. MOTIVATION – how much do they want it? Is it just a passing idea because their neighbour is doing it and they don’t want to miss out or do they really want to feel/look/perform differently.  How deep-rooted the motivation is massively depends on that person’s mindset and background and what inspired them to exercise in the first place. For most of us, it is probably a degree of vanity – we want to look as good as we possibly can and this is a massive motivator for us. For others, it might be performance related – and I don’t mean just athletes…. are we hoping to get more agile, to be more mobile, to retain our flexibility into older age, to be able to run for the bus without needing an inhaler. In my opinion, how much the person wants the outcome they have imagined in their head, is directly correlated to how much effort they are willing to be able to put in to it.

3. INTENTION – We all know if you go to lift weights and flap around a dumbbell for 30 mins without connecting with the muscle you are using, then you’re gonna see feck all difference so why do we expect it from a class? You need to put the effort in to see the results. If you attend a cardio class and don’t leave a little moist in the armpit region then that’s down to you. For example, I love dancing, when I dance I feel like I’m sprinting from a crocodile because my muscles are on fire where I’m putting in so much effort. Come and waft your arms around with no intention and the results will be completely different

4. SUPPORT – some people get this at home, have families that truly want them to have that time to themselves/be healthier. Others don’t. So make friends at class or in the gym. They don’t have to be a sister from another mister. Just someone you can say hi to and who will slap you on the back when your butt is looking good. Women are much much more likely than men to join a group exercise program…. but you often see guys training in twos or threes in the gym…. so both sexes like the motivation and the competition of being around other people while they train.

5. WILLINGNESS TO MAKE A CHANGE– I know people that come to my classes who work 3 jobs, have young children and STILL come to class week in week out. So when someone looks me in the eye and more or less tells me they can’t be bothered to change their diet or they can’t ‘fit in’ a class, then be prepared for the eyebrow. That person isn’t going to do what they need to do to see results. They’re just not in the right place to do it and only they can give themselves a kick up the arse to find that willingness to change.

6. DITCHING THE FEAR – so you come with Mary but Mary’s lazy as f#$k and any excuse not to come and she’s in her PJs in front of Eastenders before you can click your fingers. You really want to come so why don’t you come alone? Fear. Fear stops us from doing lots of cool stuff. So work you way round it and kick Mary in the face.  Ditch her and make new friends at class. New friends who are going to say hi when you get there, high five you when you don’t drown in your own sweat and be pleased you came because you made them feel more confident too. Then Mary might pull her finger out cos she’s got FOMO!

So high five to all of you guys for being fitness legends and sticking to this stuff for so long and for anyone desperately wanting to make that change, just jump on right in there! It’s a big leap, but once you make it, the opportunities for a real lifestyle change are endless!
Peace out!

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How to make a lifestyle change

How to make a lifestyle change

People always say to me ‘oh but it must be easier for you because you enjoy exercise and yeah for sure, I 100% agree with that. But the thing is I didn’t use to. I used to frigging hate it. My Mum used to drag me out on runs with her as a teenager and I used to pretend my shoelace had undone so I could have a break. She must have wanted to throttle me with it. I’m surprised she didn’t to be fair, I was pretty annoying.

I was chubby and unfit at college but then at uni I decided enough was enough and I started to get my shit together. I was nowhere near as fit as I am now but I could do 15 mins on a treadmill at 6mph so for a wine covered student who loved a fag I was pretty chuffed with that.

For me exercise and healthy eating was something forced upon me as a child and which I then forced upon myself as an adult. The thing is, with repetition habit then forms. And once something is a habit it no longer feels like an effort. Once that feeling of effort has gone then it begins to feel almost enjoyable. Before you know it you’re discussing it with friends who ‘enjoy’ the same thing….. And then you realize. You’re not forcing yourself anymore…. it is actually fun and it no longer makes you want to punch yourself in the face. Now I’m not gonna lie and says it’s easy…. I’m 35…. I reckon I’ve been enjoying exercise about 10 years…. And forcing myself/being forced for the 12 years prior.

Its gonna take work and a shit load of motivation. But if you want whatever it is that is motivating you then suck it up and crack on. Give yourself a solid kick up the ass, enlist the support of loved ones (if you have people you don’t want to stab in the face, and jump in balls deep). There is literally nothing to lose and so much to gain. There’s gonna be sh*\t days and better days and days when you feel like a ninja. But no matter what, you’re still another step forward from the old you.

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