To acknowledge International Women’s Day on 8 March, we talk to Sarah from the ACT who is not only a BODYATTACK, CXWORX and RPM instructor by night (and early morning…and lunch) but a Trial Lawyer by day. In between classes and court we ask Sarah how she balances being an instructor and lawyer, what it’s like being a female in her profession and we ask what her secret talent is…it’s actually pretty awesome. From us here to all the fearless females out there: happy International Women’s Day #balanceforbetter.
What made you get in to Les Mills and why your specific program/s?
Haha, good question, long answer.
I got back from a holiday and a friend sent me a photo of myself. I was like, “Whaaaat? When did that spare tyre attach itself to my tummy?”
I saw Michelle Bridge’s book Lose the Last 5 Kilos which is a 4 week program and I thought, ‘perfect, I can do anything for 4 weeks. I’ll do her program to the letter and if I lose the 5 kilos, great, and if I don’t, I’ll write to her and tell her she’s a fraud.’ Win win right?
The book offers diet, recipes and workouts, or suggests Les Mills classes instead of her workouts. A nearby gym had a timetable that mirrored her recommended LM classes so I joined up. I made one commitment – turn up to class.
Best thing ever. The music, the workout, the results, everything about it kept me there participating enthusiastically. After a few weeks, one of the BodyAttack instructors asked me if I’d consider doing the Attack training and offered the gym as a sponsor. I thought, ‘if you’re asking, I’m doing!’ and signed up to the first available training.
Oh, and I lost nearly 5 kilos. I didn’t realise that the recipes were for 2 to 4 people until week 3, so no wonder I found the diet component easy! But I still lost the weight, and now I am a GFI in 3 different programs.
What do you love about being a Les Mills instructor?
Soo many things. I love the music; I love that young people in my life say that my knowledge of music has kept me relevant (among other things I hope!); I love the lifelong friends I have made and the inspirational people I have met. I love just how damn effective the programs are (!) and that they keep evolving. Thanks for all the research LM! I love the participants. I revel in their fitness journeys, their connection. Music and human connection - is there any greater meaning to life?
Your full-time job sounds intense. How do you balance that with being an instructor?
Yes, my full-time job is intense. Being an instructor helps me to put some perspective on the intensity of my full-time job. It has been instrumental to my physical and mental health. Even if I have some really important work to do in the office, I don’t cancel a class or find a cover. I leave the office and teach. I tell myself I’ll come back if I need to. It is amazing – once I’ve finished teaching, I have perspective. I either go back to the office and spend half as much time as I thought I needed to finish the job, or better still, I don’t go back to the office because suddenly I can see that there is another way to deal with it.
What is it like being a female in your profession? Is it male dominated? Do you notice a difference because of your gender – and if so, how do you overcome this?
Ah, it is not easy being a female in my profession. Yes, it is male dominated, and traditionally so. I have copped “sit down girly”; been told what to wear to work; had my reporductive intentions inquired about at a job interview; talked over the top of; been sexually harassed, and witnessed my female colleagues held to a higher standard than their male counterpart. Having said that, we are seeing an increase in equal representation of women and men in some of the top end jobs like judicial officers. On occasion I have experienced absolute equality in the working environment and it is BLISS when it happens. You know when you have some some muscle soreness and you have a massage, then suddelny the absence of pain is what rocks your world? Similar feeling. I spend most of my time ‘abs braced’ for inequality, but then when there is an absense of it, the feeling is exhilarating. To be able to do your job without gender bias interference. Ah!
How to overcome this? Sage words of advice, “lean in.” I gather wonderful women close, and focus on our strength and not being alone on this journey.
How (if any) does being a female in your profession give you an advantage?
To be part of that frontier of change is exciting. To work alongside inspiring women who advocate for change is a privillege. The fight has been fought for a long time. It brings a lump to my throat when I think of those who have gone before me. It brings an even bigger lump to my throat when I think of those who battle and have battled not only gender inequality, but social, cultural and economic inequality as well.
To have that feeling of “I came here to live!” is utterly wonderful.
What’s are some of the lessons you’ve learned in your career? Both your full time and your instructing career…and do you cross ove some of those lessons?
What I have learnt being a LM instructor has benefited me in my legal career enormously. Professionalism, staying in the moment, being my authentic self – all of those things I apply equally in both jobs.
I have learnt some big lessons. Seeing the ability of people to overcome adversity is breathtaking. When the system lets them down; when circumstances betrays them; when cancer riddles their body… but somehow they find happiness in music; joy in connecting; peace in having been heard – surely that is divine.
What’s the next step in your career/life?
Service to the community is very improtant to me. So too staying fit, healthy and emotionally available to my family and friends. Next step – hmm, I goal set every year and do an inventory at the end of the year. I am doing ok. 😊 I would like to be better at french though!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to females wanting to get in to the fitness industry (and becoming a Les Mills instructor)?
Do it!!! Do it now!!! The skills you learn as a LM instructor are so transferable and enourmously valuable. Best of luck!
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS!
- Secret Talent?
I’ve raced motorcycles
- One question you hate being asked?
Can’t think of one – question 5 maybe?
- If you could give your 13-year old self advice, what would you say?
It’s ok. Well, it’s not, but it will be.
- Movie that made you cry the hardest?
Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother
- If you ruled the world, what law would you enact?
I cannot answer that question. I am a lawyer, I take it far too seriously and it would take me waaay too long.
- Three words to describe yourself
Extroverted, anxious and energetic.
- Finish off this famous Shania Twain line! The best thing about being a woman….
is being a woman. Women are amazing.