By Marie Anagnostis
“If you don’t know what you’re doing then leave”.
These were the words barked at George Tonga after his very first group fitness class. At his own admission he did have some “directional issues”, but this is why we love the guy; while most of us would have slinked out of that class never to be seen again, George would have no part of it: “I loved it!”
That first class was BODYSTEP® and as an ex-rugby player George needed to lose weight; such was the determination to shed the kgs he tried all the classes available and became a regular participant in BODYATTACK®, BODYPUMP®, BODYCOMBAT®and BODYJAM®. These days the Dad of Matteo (or Mateo depending on what part of the world you are from), 23-months, has honed his skills as a LES MILLS Trainer and Presenter in BODYPUMP®, RPM™ and GRIT™.
George’s ascent to Trainer and Presenter is even more extraordinary
a) considering his first experience in group fitness and
b) his fear of public speaking
He credits many people for his success including; his family, his first instructors, LES MILLS Trainers, Alani Mala, his loyal participants and you: the instructors that attend module training and workshops.
The hands on Dad is able to juggle his regular classes, learning choreography, training modules and quarterly workshops by squeezing his workload around his young son’s sleeping habits: when he sleeps in, has a nap or goes to bed early “it can be tough but I am privileged to have a loving and supportive wife who has always been there for me”.
So, is Matteo’s favourite show Thomas the Tank Engine or BODYPUMP® DVDs? Turns out that Matteo has had a healthy exposure to LES MILLS in his short 23-months “Anything that resembles a bar he often uses it to deadlift or places it on his back to squat. His signature move is a modified squat-burpee-jump”. For the record his favourite is BODYPUMP® 84. Go kid!
Can we expect to see a Father-son team teach in a couple of decades? “If Mike McSweeney is a testament of what BODYPUMP® and RPM™ does for you then that would be a definite yes!”
George will be spending this Father’s Day presenting at Q3 Adelaide “Matteo is too young to understand why Dads are special on this day, but I am reminded of how awesome it is to be a dad everyday”, but there is one more reason George will be celebrating on 1 September: he and his lovely wife are expecting another addition in December!
Marie is the Boss of Accomplice Accessories, freelance writer and teaches BODYPUMP®, BODYATTACK®, CXWORX® and GRIT™