by Les Mills Asia Pacific

Malaysian-based May Hwa is a LES MILLS GRIT®, BODYCOMBAT® and BODYPUMP® Instructor, whose journey was originally inspired by the connection and energy she saw a BODYCOMBAT Instructor create. Read on to discover more.

LMAP: Please tell us about yourself

Hi, my name is May. I am currently a Group Fitness Manager at Celebrity Fitness Malaysia but I am also a legal drug dealer, (whoops, I mean pharmacist!) by profession! I attended my first BODYATTACK® class in 2010 when I was studying in the UK, and ever since then Les Mills has been a part of my life. In December 2016, I finally decided to take my first Initial Module Training and then I started teaching in 2017. Fast-forward six years later, I am now a certified LES MILLS GRIT®, BODYCOMBAT® and BODYPUMP® Instructor.

LMAP: What inspired you to become an instructor?

I was inspired to become a Les Mills Instructor by another BODYCOMBAT Instructor named Jennie Chan. When I first attended her class, I was amazed at how she connected with her members and how much energy she brought into the class to motivate them. To my surprise, I kept coming back for more of her classes – maybe I was stalking her! From then on, I knew I wanted to become an Instructor – I wanted to be able to inspire others and bring joy and fun into fitness just like Jennie did. Seeing the smile on the faces in my classes is now my guilty pleasure!

LMAP: How has LES MILLS GRIT® helped your overall fitness?

LES MILLS GRIT has helped me both physically and mentally. After introducing GRIT into my training, I was able to complete numerous 100km ultramarathons, as I became both physically and mentally stronger.

LMAP: During Initial Module Training, one of the things you learn is floor coaching and connection. How has that helped you in your role as an Instructor for multiple Les Mills programs?

Other programs teach us how to describe the exercise, why you should do the exercise, and how to communicate efficiently. With GRIT, the training taught me how to think and act fast, and to always be aware of what is happening with each member in the class.

GRIT is a fast-paced program, the choice of words, the word simplicity, and the tone of voice play a big role in GRIT coaching. The attention window for a fast-paced class is relatively small, so saying the right words at the right time, and in the right tone of voice, play a big part in successful coaching and connection.

LMAP: What advice do you have for people who are considering trying LES MILLS GRIT for the first time, or thinking about becoming a LES MILLS GRIT Instructor?

Don’t be intimidated by GRIT! This is what I always tell my first-timers. The best part about GRIT is, you can go at your own pace. Focus on yourself first, then focus on your technique and range of motion, before adding on the weight (if it’s a GRIT Strength class). If you feel like quitting halfway through, know that you are not alone! We all feel the same way, but give it a few more minutes, and you will feel great afterwards! GRIT is never easy. It is designed to push you to your maximum effort, but in the safest possible way. And trust me, that sense of accomplishment and the results you see, will make you come back for more!

LMAP: Why do you love coaching GRIT? And why do you think your members come back week after week?

Where do I start? There’s too much to say! It is definitely seeing them accomplish something they once thought was impossible. And the expressions they make during the classes is PRICELESS!

Most people have a love-hate relationship with GRIT, and most of us will go through three stages in a GRIT class:

Before class: “Why am I here?”
During the class: “Only 10 minutes passed? No SERIOUSLY, why AM I HERE?”
After class: “GOSH! I feel awesome! See you next week!”

And the cycle repeats week after week. Members just love the challenge they get in every GRIT class, and every GRIT class is different.

LMAP: What do you love about being a Les Mills Instructor?

The whole community – from members to other Instructors. Being together under the same roof, doing the class together and feeling that sense of belonging, even though we all came from different places, is a feeling that no words can describe. And as Instructors, we are all here for one reason: to deliver our best Les Mills class to our members. And who knows? We might even inspire others to become a Les Mills Instructor too!

LMAP: What would you tell someone who is considering becoming a Les Mills Instructor, but who does not quite feel ready?

They should try and understand why they don’t feel ready. If they’re not ready because of their technique, I would advise them to join a few more classes with me or any other Instructor, and then we can work on their technique together. If the person is not confident in coaching, this is something not to fear as it is a learned skill. Being in the industry for a few years now, I can proudly say that Initial Module Training is one of the best foundations on which you can start a fitness Instructor career.

LMAP: Where can people follow you?

Follow ‘mhsiow’ on Instagram or ‘May Hwa’ on Facebook


Les Mills Asia Pacific