For some, being a group fitness instructor is a full time gig – running from class to class, rapidly changing from sweaty clothes to non-sweaty clothes to rinse and repeat day in day out. For others, being a group fitness instructor is their “other job”. In this new series “The Secret Life of Group Fitness Instructors” we introduce you to members of the Les Mills Tribe who have some interesting, inspiring and very busy “other jobs”.
By night, Elizabeth Lee can be seen punching and pumping, strutting and shimmying across group fitness stages in Canberra, by day she is one of the most prominent Members of Parliament in the Australian Capital Territory (a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly or MLA), holding the positions of Assistant Speaker, Shadow Minister for Disability and Shadow Minister for the Environment.Previous to this, Elizabeth has had careers as a litigation lawyer and a law lecturer at one of Australia’s most prestigious universities.
Elizabeth trained in BODYJAM® and BODYCOMBAT® in 2002, teaching steadily since then and over time adding BODYPUMP®, BODYBALANCE® and SH’BAM® to the mix. “I was a bit of an aerobics nerd in high school. I'd wake up every morning at dawn to do Aerobics Oz Style before school. When I was at uni, I tried my first Les Mills class and loved them all, especially BODYJAM®”. At the time Elizabeth was teaching women’s self-defense and Tae Kwon Do so already had an interest in teaching, so when a BODYJAM® training was scheduled – it was a no-brainer, she was in.
Despite this divergent mix of careers, it seems that some big skills can be taken from day in to night and back in to the day “I am responsible for advocating for and representing my community, a community that encompasses people from different backgrounds, experiences and expectations. I think this must help in my group fitness teaching – because our participants are the same.It also helps manage expectations and put things in perspective. It's impossible to please everybody and if I am not my genuine self (as both an MLA and as an instructor), people see though it pretty quickly and I will lose credibility.”
Her passion for group fitness has seen Elizabeth inspire countless lives in her 15-years of teaching and notes, “I know that each time I get on stage for a class, every single participant has chosen to do a class with me,to invest their time and effort. I try to keep this in mind every class no matter what kind of day I may have had or what mood I may be in. I also am conscious of doing each program proud. I've been in the fitness industry now as a Les Mills instructor for 15 years and I hope that my journey will continue for a long time to come!”