Cross Training - The Athlete's Edge
It’s a well-known fact among the tribe of LES MILLS instructors that our group fitness programs build strength, power, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, as well as deliver longevity, flexibility, stability and control. This fact is also becoming known by the wider Australian sporting industry, with many athletes choosing to incorporate LES MILLS group fitness classes into their pre-season and off-season training regime. With such a large variety of LES MILLS programs, naturally, different sporting codes prefer the training offered by some programs over others.
Jodi Glasspool, an instructor based in Victoria, has had local football and netball teams participate in her group fitness classes. The football players participated in RPM™, mostly on a one-off basis, while the netballers attended regular BODYBALANCE®, RPM™ and BODYPUMP® classes for about 4 – 6 weeks every pre-season, for several years. Jodi says, “RPM™ is probably the most sought-after program, especially for the guys as it’s not overly complex!”
Footy and BODYATTACK®
A player from the Kedron Rugby League club in Brisbane approached Keri-Anne Murray after he participated in her BODYATTACK® class, asking if his footy club could hire an instructor to take them through BODYATTACK® classes in their off-season. Keri-Anne remarks, “He said he loved the cardio challenge and intervals across the two peaks and the intensity of the plyometric moves for the legs. He thought that the class would be a great challenge for the team’s fitness and would complement their training for the game season.”
Cricket and RPM™
Fred Storbeck taught RPM™ to the Torrens Cricket Club, based in South Australia, for 8- weeks as part of their pre-season training program. Fred explains, “It was initiated by one of the players who happened to be a member of the gym. He approached the cricket club managers, who then made the request for the class.” The coach and the players all said that, as well as experiencing an increase in their overall fitness, the team building exercise was great for team morale. Most importantly, Fred said that, “The players stated that their on-field performance increased as well.”
The above examples illustrate that, currently, many sporting clubs are connected with LES MILLS group fitness classes on an ad-hoc basis. More often than not, these team classes are initiated by one of the players who “discovers” the class at their local gym.
Swimming and CXWORX®
Marisa Webb is the GFM at Broken Hill YMCA and Regional Aquatic Centre and she has also been Head Coach for the Broken Hill Swimming Club for the last 10-years. Marisa says, “We have always had a component of dry land training/conditioning which includes strength, core and flexibility work, to enhance the cycles of training in the pool.” Due to Marisa’s roles crossing over between the sports club and the fitness club, Marisa has incorporated LES MILLS group fitness classes into her swimmers’ training programs in a more structured manner, particularly since she trained in CXWORX® 2 years ago.
As soon as the gym had CXWORX® on the timetable I started encouraging my senior swimmers to attend once or twice a week. At first they were all really challenged by the program, with some finding it really hard, but they soon started seeing the results in their swimming. Their technique and drill work improved, as well as their non-swimming work, such as dive starts, turns and underwater work, all of which can make a swimmer so much faster in their events. CXWORX®has helped enhance their performance, their core strength, their power and their ability to hold onto the water longer and stronger through their strokes.
New markets for your business
This emerging trend shows us that LES MILLS group fitness programs can give athletes an “edge” over their peers and competitors. With this in mind, marketing group fitness classes to sporting organisations and athletes might just be a way for fitness clubs to gain their own “edge” within an increasingly competitive market. One shining example of how a fitness club has done this successfully, is that of EZYFIT, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
EZYFIT promotes its group fitness classes extensively and, as a result, has a large participation rate among its members. Several local sporting teams regularly participate in classes at EZYFIT, including the STINGRAYS Rugby Union club who attend GRIT™ Strength, and several local basketball teams, who mostly do BODYATTACK® with some BODYPUMP® and CXWORX®. Touch football and Oztag teams attend BODYATTACK®, BODYPUMP® and RPM™, and road cycling teams choose to do lots of RPM™.
Vanessa Love, GFM at EZYFIT, states, “We also have many individual athletes that call EZYFIT ‘home’ and LES MILLS programs ‘training’. Lisa Curry (swimming gold medalist and all-round celebrity) loves CXWORX®, Caleb Ralph (former All Blacks player, NZ 7’s player and NPC for Canterbury) is a huge RPM™’er, Louis Fesoli (NZ national 7’s champion, also played for the QLD Reds) does all the programs but particularly loves GRIT™ Strength, and Michaella Trigg (recently raced in NZ ironman and qualified for world championships) swears by BODYPUMP® and RPM™.”
Vanessa remarks, “BODYPUMP®, GRIT™ Strength, CXWORX®, RPM™ and BODYATTACK® are the big draw cards for athletes and sporting clubs,” and the feedback from the athletes and clubs is overwhelmingly positive. Vanessa says, “Every single person and team have raved about the classes they do, as to how much better their game has become and how much stronger/ faster/ more agile they are.
By Clare Hallas
Clare comes from a marketing background and currently works for LES MILLS Asia Pacific as a National Trainer and Presenter in BODYATTACK®, BODYSTEP® and CXWORX®. She also teaches BODYPUMP® and RPM™ and is based in Melbourne.