(This Interview and Article is done originally in Thai. If you would like to read the Thai version, please click here.)
Anchalee Hengsakulwong (known as ‘Kib’) is the National Group Exercise Manager at Virgin Active in Thailand. Kib has been a Les Mills Instructor since 2012 and is certified to teach BODYJAM®, BODYPUMP®, BODYCOMBAT®, SH’BAM® and LES MILLS GRIT®. She is also a Presenter for BODYJAM and SH’BAM.
LMAP: What originally inspired you to become a Les Mills Instructor?
What inspired me to become a Les Mills Instructor was HAPPINESS! I learned that I love to educate and help others. In my fitness workplace, people would typically seek guidance from a man who has the perfect physique. I was neither of those things, but being a Les Mills Instructor gave me the confidence to face challenges head-on, and to be authentic by showing who I am, what I can do, and how I can support others to do the same. This inspires me physically and emotionally to keep teaching, because I love motivating people to venture out of their comfort zone, just like I did.
LMAP: Congratulations on your recent appointment as the National Group Fitness Manager for Virgin Active in Thailand! In this exciting role, do you have any specific goals or targets that you hope to achieve?
My goal is to try and ensure that every participant enjoys and reaps the benefits from their group fitness class. Doing this will see them come back to the class again and again. When this happens it’s a win/win/win for the club, Instructor and participants! But to achieve this, we need to create a community of Instructors who share experience and tips, and who practise together every quarter. So, what I can do in my role with Virgin Active, is be the host of the party!
LMAP: Historically in Thailand, there has been a lower-than-average portion of female Instructors. Why do you think this is and what can we do, as an industry, to inspire more females to become Instructors?
In the Thai culture, women traditionally can grow up being taught that it’s good to be a quiet follower, which is why the majority of Thai women are very shy and quiet. We are known as the Land of the Smile because even when you see people join together in an activity, most of the Thai people will tend to sit there and smile. I think by encouraging women and letting them know they can be good leaders; we can grow a community of strong and confident women. We just need to encourage them to get in the front row, be fit, strong and confident! This will take time but step-by-step we can achieve it!
LMAP: What change would you like to see within the fitness industry, and in your current role, how might you help facilitate or inspire this change?
I want every class to be high quality and delivered by passionate Instructors. I want participants to improve their physical and mental health, and I want to hear how good everyone feels after each class.
In my position, I can play host to the community by bringing Presenters, Trainers and Instructors together to meet, inspire and support each other; to enjoy our shared love of fitness, and to work together to make classes even more successful.
I believe that encouraging people to get out of their comfort zone helps them to develop, and when others see positive change, they too will feel inspired to evolve.
LMAP: What do you love about being a Les Mills Instructor?
I love that I can keep myself strong, and I love sharing happiness with those in my classes. Being an Instructor has shown me that dream jobs really do exist. I especially love it when people share with me, how their life has changed after finding Les Mills classes.
I love to travel, and Les Mills has taken me to many countries that I had never been to before. I have gotten to know a lot of lovely people and made good friends. Also, my English skills are better as a result of my teaching.
LMAP: What would you tell someone who is considering becoming a Les Mills Instructor, but does not quite feel ready?
If you like Les Mills classes and have a passion for them, then Initial Module Training is the first step to finding out more. You may discover that you love to be the one on stage and it may start a new career for you; or you might just learn more about the program and what your favourite instructor feels and goes through when up on the stage. You will definitely learn more about yourself and develop skills that you may never have known you had! Take your time to think about it, and if it remains in your mind then just take the opportunity and give yourself a chance to succeed. And I’ll be here to support you!
To follow Kib on Instagram check out @zumokib