Teaching Fitness Around the World
By Lincoln Bryden
During my 8 years of presenting I have met some wonderful people and presented at some great UK conventions. However one of the major perks of presenting for me, is being able to teach instructors from a variety of countries. So far I have been able to present in over 19 different countries ranging from a small convention with only 40 people in France, through to teaching my Ceroc Jive dancing class in front of 4000 people at the IDEA convention in Las Vegas!
Learning the Lingo
I love the challenge of having one hour to convince a group of people who don’t understand me, firstly to like me and secondly to enjoy my choreography! One of the many questions I get asked is, “but if you don’t speak the language, how can you get people to understand your routines?”. Well, as they say, communication is over 60% non verbal, so I really concentrate on my non verbal body language! I also try to learn to count to 8 in the country that I teach in (except Russian, far too difficult!), as well as “left, right, forward, and back” as an ice breaker. Fortunately a grapevine is a grapevine is grapevine wherever you go!
Another question I get asked is “How do you get to present in all these countries?”. There does seem to be a sort of international network, and if you create a good reputation then you get invited to a variety of conventions. There are also some very large conventions, for example the IDEA convention in America, BODYLIFE convention in Germany, or the ASIAFIT convention in Hong Kong. If you get to present at these then there is a good chance that you will be seen and asked to present at another event in another country. I prefer to work with people and organisations that I like (it helps!) and networking at the most unusual times usually reaps the best rewards. For example in Hong Kong my room mate and I could not sleep due to jet lag, so we switched the lights on, introduced ourselves, and talked for 5 hours! From that I was invited to present in Mexico! Also many a convention invitation has taken place after a few glasses of wine (or something stronger!).
International Fitness Trends
As well as the many countries I have seen while I have presented, I also get to see what the fitness trends are in different countries. For example in the UK the current trend seems to be on functional training, pilates, and yoga. However freestyle choreography ie aerobics and step does not seem to be as popular as maybe 5 years ago. In countries such as Spain and Italy this is not the case as people just love to move! The choreography has to have turns, leaps, cross phrasing, insertions, performance track at the end, everything! All in 60 minutes!
This results in each country having presenters with different qualities. Some have phenomenal choreography, some have excellent teaching and cueing skills, others have an immense knowledge of health and fitness, and still others are awesome performers on stage. However, I do feel that UK presenters are among the best in the world, as we combine great teaching skills, original choreography, on stage presence, and superior performance skills. I think that you will agree that if you look at the Pure Energy Live line up you will be able to identify these skills present in all the instructors on offer.
So what has been the highlight of my international times? Well teaching in front of 4000 people in Las Vegas has to be up there together with teaching in Acapulco in November knowing that it was freezing in the UK! But there have been a few less glamorous moments. For example turning up to teach in Italy in front of 600 people, and TV cameras to find out there was no microphone. Then there was the time that I was stranded at a convention because my driver was involved in a car crash and I had no way to get back to the hotel or indeed the airport and I did not speak the local language!
However the good far outweighs the bad and I consider myself to have been very fortunate to have seen the numerous countries that I have, met the wonderful people that I have and seen the variety of fitness trends and choreography styles that are present around the world. Hopefully I will be able to continue my journeys as I have a few more countries that I would love to present in, and some more choreography that I need to steal!