Based in Gosford NSW (Australia), 21-yar-old Hannah Wardle is certified in BODYATTACK®, BODYPUMP®, LES MILLS CORE®, RPM® and LES MILLS SPRINT®.
“At age 17, prior to my Les Mills training, I felt lost and alone,” Hannah explains. “I was really active during my school days - having been a representative player at state competitions for basketball and netball. And in high school, I focused on my studies but always felt intimidated at my all-girls school, where I grew up thinking I had to be skinny and pretty to be worthwhile.”
“I lacked a sense of belonging and struggled with conflict in friendship groups at school. I always felt alone, even when in a group setting and I never felt like I fitted in, so finding group fitness made me feel like I had found somewhere that I truly belonged.”
“When I first started at the gym, all I knew how to do was go on the cross-trainer. I didn’t have a clue about what else to do in the gym, so I just went there and did that. But one day I saw a BODYPUMP class, and I liked the music, so I did it the next week. It was so good to be in a group and room of like-minded people; even though I was doing it on my own, I was still with other people. It was a real ‘a-ha’ moment for me.”
Group fitness classes helped Hannah to become part of a group; even though she didn’t know the people in the class, she felt like they were all there to help each other until the end of the class. “I’m part of a massive community, and so I wake up knowing I’m not alone.And now, as an Instructor, people now value me for who I am and praise me for how hard I work.”
When she first started attending BODYATTACK classes, Hannah was in the back row. On the stage was a pocket rocket of an Instructor who inspired her to be the best she could be in those 55 minutes. So, over time as her confidence grew, Hannah slowly made her way towards the front row.
At the time of deciding to become certified, Hannah was experiencing a significant level of stress. She had negative family relationships and experiences, and so did not know where she was going in life. She always had felt she wasn’t good enough and wanted to drop out of school; but she stuck at it and eventually graduated high school, which she is really proud of achieving. “I pushed through tough periods. No one can motivate you except yourself,” she says.
“I worked long hours at a café to pay for my courses (and it turned out I was being underpaid at the time!). I paid for my courses with hard work, and I did it all by myself. And knowing that, is something no one can take away from me,” Hannah says. “I find it so rewarding to achieve things independently; much like how I can learn an hour’s worth of choreography on my own - it’s something to be proud of!”
Hannah had completed her Certificates III and IV in Fitness (a qualification in Australia that enables her to teach freestyle group exercise classes and work as a personal trainer/gym floor instructor). “I also plan to study nutrition and physiology at university, so I can give more to my PT clients.”
Hannah’s hometown of Bathurst has two small clubs. The Assistant Manager and GFM saw Hannah was doing a lot of classes and noticed she had a strong eye for choreography and great strong posture.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I was good enough to do it [the training]. I was strong but I was anxious. I was even intimidated by how awesome my IMT Trainer was. Because of my self-doubt, I was sure I’d have to re-sit my first program - and I was okay with that. But then the eight-week pathway, where I had to work on myself, was awesome and I ended up passing Day 3 with flying colours!”
“In the beginning, I was very scared of teaching because I was so young and brand new to group ex.”
LES MILLS CORE® was Hannah’s first qualification. Other trainees in the IMT were older (perhaps early 30s or late 20s), so she did feel quite intimidated, and wondered if people would even listen to a young person on stage. “Back then I felt there was a stigma around young people becoming Instructors.”
But, soon enough, Hannah discovered that the IMT taught her all the skills and knowledge she needed to become a role model and a strong leader on stage, which grew her confidence.
Six months after doing her CORE IMT (which she did in May 2019) Hannah completed her second IMT in BODYATTACK® (at the end of 2019). She found that Days 1 and 2 imparted all the knowledge and experience that she needed to further boost her self-confidence. In early 2022, Hannah then completed BODYPUMP® IMT, and she’s currently completing her RPM IMT.
“I really hated public speaking at school, but once I got through Days 1 and 2 of my first IMT, and then passed Day 3, I quickly fell in love with the training experience and with teaching.”
“Becoming and being a Les Mills Instructor has helped me grow as a person. Previously, I was so young and so unsure of myself, but I now know I’m in the best position I’ve ever been in because I know who I am and what I want for my future – and this is because I have grown so much since becoming an Instructor. I love the energy I get to share and the people I get to meet. I am inspired by them to be better. I’ve built connections with people I would never otherwise have met, and I feel so blessed every single day for stepping outside my comfort zone.”
Friends who are not Instructors love hearing how passionate Hannah is about being an Instructor. “At end of the day, I am there for everyone else. I love making sure people love moving, the way they love to move; in any way they want. The community and feeling of that is fantastic.”
“I still feel like I’m a participant in classes but now I’m there to teach them the choreography! I don’t feel like I am any better than anyone else in the room. Just like the national or international Presenters - they are all humans and don’t act like they’re better than anyone else; they’re just people, who are still humble and down to earth. And so many Instructors and Presenters are like that - you don’t actually realise how big a community Les Mills is, until you’re part of it.”
“Ultimately, I think I’d love to get on one of those global stages and present to all the Instructors around the world, so I can share my personality with then. There is so much knowledge to gain from so many people, and I truly believe in myself thanks to this Instructor journey.”
“Becoming a Les Mills Instructor helped me stop the self-doubt and realise that I was capable of great things. I am young, but I have my whole life to achieve my dreams, so for me it’s one foot in front of the other, step by step, day by day, one moment at a time.”
Hannah’s advice for future Instructors? “Learning choreography can be intimidating but once you know how and you know you can do it on your own, it’s really empowering and rewarding. To the young leaders out there, Hannah says: “I want you to feel like you are capable of anything because you can be the next generation of Instructors for Les Mills Asia Pacific.”