Instructor Profile - Ernest

by Les Mills Asia Pacific

Ernest Poh is a doctor (respiratory physician) and a professor of medicine at a local university in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has been teaching BODYPUMP® since 2015, having been trained on BODYPUMP Release 92.

LMAP: What inspired you to become a Les Mills Instructor?

Ernest: Having the opportunity to play the piano since young, to the extent of almost pursuing a career in music, I’ve always been musically inclined. However, I chose to study medicine instead as it was my dream to be a doctor. I was literally a nerd in medical school, focusing most of my time on books and in the wards. But what really took a toll on my physical health was the long working hours during the first two years of internship, where I did not have time to adequately eat or rest; in fact, I weighed 45kg at my worst!

A friend introduced me to the gym after seeing how I’d become skin and bones and it was there where I caught sight of Les Mills classes. I started attending BODYPUMP and immediately fell in love with training to music. I was deeply inspired by the Instructors who connected with me, and the rest is history!

LMAP: How do you juggle your medical career with your role as a LES MILLS Instructor?

Ernest: Ernest: Becoming a Les Mills instructor has been a life-changing experience for me. I was able to put into practice what I would normally advise my patients, namely to exercise regularly, eat healthily and maintain a good work/life balance and strong mental health.

Being able to incorporate BODYPUMP into my weekly routine has helped me to walk the talk. I would not come across as being hypocritical when I send this advice to patients as I am able to balance a busy work schedule of clinical work, teaching, research and writing, while prioritising fitness and health. Time management is crucial. Over time, good habits and routines are developed so that you don’t have to choose between one or the other. Work and fitness become a part of you and gives you much joy!

LMAP: Given the unpredictability of your schedule, how do you manage to find opportunities to teach BODYPUMP?

Ernest: Whilst I initially had permanent classes to teach, I subsequently realised that I could not commit to them as there would be emergencies where I had to tend to very sick patients, sometimes right before a class! I then moved on to only covering fellow Instructors for classes whenever I could. Despite not having a permanent class to teach, I continue to equip myself with Advanced Training and the latest Releases to-date. These days, I find opportunities to team-teach the new Release every quarter, with fellow Instructors who are more than willing to share the stage with me.

LMAP: It’s really cool that you seek team-teaching teaching opportunities with other Instructors who have permanent classes. Please tell us how you approached your fellow Instructors and the Group Fitness Manager to establish this arrangement.

Ernest: One of the amazing things about being an Instructor is that you get absorbed into a family of Instructors after you’ve been certified to teach. New friendships are formed and there is so much encouragement and mutual respect for one another within this new family. As such, it doesn’t take much to humbly ask if you can share the stage with fellow Instructors, especially during new Releases as everyone is still trying to memorise the choreography and so generally appreciates all the help they can get! The Group Fitness Manager at the clubs are usually very supportive of this too, as they know that an extra Instructor on stage can add an element of fun and connection, resulting in a different experience for regular members.

LMAP: What does self-care look like for you, amidst your busy schedule?

Ernest: Interestingly, teaching or attending a BODYPUMP class is self-care for me. I do this on a regular basis, about two to three times a week. When I’m in a BODYPUMP class for an hour, I can put away the worries and stresses from work to focus - instead, on the class participants - connecting with them and setting them up for success and great results. The excitement, the music, the racing heartbeat, and the workouts with different intensities all help to reduce the body’s stress hormones.

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

Ernest: Being a Les Mills Instructor has given me the confidence to speak well, train well and to connect with people in a more meaningful way. These skills have also been extremely helpful in my line of work as a physician. It has inspired me in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and hopefully one day, I will be able to inspire others to do the same!

To follow Ernest on Instagram check out @dr.ernestpoh


Les Mills Asia Pacific