Note from Rachel

I returned from the best Fitness week ever in Turkey at 2am on Sunday morning only to get up at 7am to finally complete the new Choreographytogo and get it all transferred over to the new server. By 10pm that evening I hadn’t moved out of my room, glued to the pc the hours ticked by to get the site back up and running. It’s been a MAMMOTH job, in fact, that’s an understatement, I started 18months ago and have got through 3 web designers (who promised the earth and delivered nothing) until I found the right person to help me with my vision. We worked on 2 different versions trying to find the right software to handle the memberships, videos, products, course, workshops, qualifications and forum. and FINALLY drum roll…..It’s here! There’s still loads for me to do and I’m frantically learning new systems and membership databases and, of course, good old word press, but the bones of it are working and I have so much  scope to Choreographytogo well into the future.Please have a good look around the site, my new blog with be updated daily with news , updates, ideas and choreography and the forum is back in full affect.

I’ll also integrating my youtube into the site for Vlogging so please do connect me if you have a youtube channel, then I can showcase your videos on the site via your youtube channels. http://www.youtube.com/user/RachelLHolmes

This week Kelly is taking the Level 3 Pilates to a full house in Manchester and Jo will be Zumbaring in Bristol on Saturday and Guildford on Sunday and you can still book places if you would like to come along click here to book https://www.choreographytogo.com/workshop-booking/zumba-with-jo-parry/

Fitness Entrepreneurs Bootcamp

This fantastic event is being held this weekend and if you would like to grab a last minute space you are more than welcome. Come along and listen to Andy Wake, Dax Moy, Paul Mort, Charlotte Ord, Michael Hepple, Jon Le Tocq, Alwyn Cosgrave, Rachel Cosgrave and Tim Goodwin. Tons of business building information and inars and information. http://fitnessentrepreneur.co.uk/

 

Mary Portas Rejuvenating the High Street – Can we get involved?

This week the brilliant Mary Portas has been all over the news and media. The government have appointed her to revamp local high streets and get people going back into the town centres. And let’s face if it anyone can do it she can. Mary is plain speaking with bags of common sense and tons of  business acumen, she is super savvy, sharp and clever and, of course, is looking for public support and ideas.

I bet every single Instructor reading this newsletter when driving around sees an empty shop and thinks “wow would that make a great space for classes” I must do it 10 times a day while I’m in my car….. But then, realism hits and you know the rent and rates will be astronomical, the building up keep too much and you might get stuck into a long lease that you can’t get out of. So you drive on and the idea goes out of your mind until you pass the next empty shop and you continue to have that tennis match in your mind!

As community Instructors we seem to be hitting a “venues to hire shortage”. There are more Instructors  out in the community than ever before and so many other groups all competing for space. Brownies, Guides, Rainbows, Scouts, Dance Schools, Dog Training, College Courses, Ballroom Dancing the list goes on and on. The country is getting fatter, local towns have tons of empty commercial property, WE need space to run classes so I reckon there’s a FANTASTIC fit here.

Imagine the local Woolworths – usually bang smack on the high street, on a bus route, massive floor space ,could it become the local community fitness venue? Creating a buzzy and busy vibe bringing people back into the towns in the daytimes and early evenings. Is this realistic?? With Mary Portas behind it, financial help from local councils and planning, realistic rent and rates, local promotion and community groups could this be the idea that could make a difference.

I have written to Mary and Tweeted her and I have started a Facebook thread to gauge support and to try find and out if people think it’s realistic, or I am away with the fairies.

If you are with me then please email or Tweet Mary and let’s see if we could get somewhere with this idea.

I’d really love to hear your feedback, negatives and positives and comments and maybe, just maybe we have an idea here somewhere.

 

Jayne Nicholls
Branding 

Hi, I am sure that you are all delighted with the new look C2GO site. So this week, we are going to celebrate the importance of keeping on top of your branding. First stop logos, which need to reflect both you and your business. When someone sees your logo they should quickly identify with you and your brand, this includes colours, font and image. When looking at your favourite brands, consider what attracts you to their brand and why. Take a look at this brand can anyone see the arrow that represents the speed and precision of their service? They know its there and it represents the very thing that is integral to their business success.,
Next is the website, these days you can get anything from homemade to thousands, but whatever you choose, the main thing is that it stays updated. If people visit a site that is old and unkempt, they rarely go back.
Someone told me recently that soon there will only be Facebook and whatever happens will happen on it. If the cost of a website is a problem then get onto facebook and create a page for free.

HOW TO: Poll Consumers on Facebook – The key to all social media is to ENGAGE with your friends and Fans

Facebook polls and surveys can be a great way to engage your fans with questions that build loyalty or provide you with valuable feedback. Before you launch a new class or service ASK your fans and followers if thats what they really want.

Facebook is often touted for its ability to create a community, but too often people and businesses let their online communities do nothing on their pages. It’s not enough to send a stream of updates without listening to what your fans and customers have to say. In fact I think it’s a crying shame not to engage and talk  to your followers and friends rather than just shouting marketing messages, after all it is call social media!

To help, I’ve collected some simple ways to poll your consumers on Facebook, as well as a mini-list of best practices. Once you start polling, let us know what worked for you in the comments below.

Facebook Questions is the in-house poll service from Facebook. Located at the top of your wall and below your profile pic, Questions lets you customise polls in a manner of ways. You can submit an open-ended question or click on the “Add Poll Options” tab to create a custom multiple-choice poll. You can add up to three options. Pro tip: You can link those responses to groups or individuals on Facebook by tagging the name with an “@” when you start typing. This is handy if you want to drive people to your various options.

While you can’t limit your question to a specific demographic (i.e., the question is broadcast to the entire Facebook community to answer), individual Facebook Pages can ask Page-specific questions. To do this, simply click on the “Questions” tab at the top of the Page’s wall. Still stuck? Check out Facebook’s official FAQ.

I’ve added some poll options on my Facebook Pages – Have a look Rachel Holmes and http://www.facebook.com/Choreographytogo

Poll is an app, meaning you’ll have to allow it access to your account. Poll operates a lot like Facebook Questions (above), but it has some extra options for tracking your respondents, purchasing premium features like ad blocking, and the ability to hide header tabs. It also allows you to add more than three options to your customized questions. That may not seem like much, but Poll has attracted more than 2 million active users so far, and corporations such as ABC, 20th Century Fox, Nintendo, Pepsi and Wimbledon have used the app.

Poll for Facebook is a free service with a loads of options including the ability to include a poll title, introduction text and advanced features such as creating a custom URL and privacy options. You can specify if you want answers as multiple choice, text or a comment thread. You can modify the appearance further by using HTML tags or adding a tab to your YouTube page. Premium users can add images, too. Poll for Facebook is the most customisable and easiest to use of the available options, attracting major corporate users.

Poll Daddy Polls offer another take on customisation. From the “Create a Poll Tab” you can add an image, customize multiple answers, and select where you want the poll to be posted. It’s simple and to the point, even if it has just 300,000 active users, making it relatively small when compared to its brethren.


Basic Tips


Once you set up your poll using one of the options above, here are some simple best practices for deciding how and what to ask.

  • Ask a real question. People on the Facebook are great at sniffing out when you really are interested in their response and just asking a question because it’s been a while. Don’t ask questions that are just self-promotional. Something like “What product of mine do you love the most!?” isn’t going to go over well.
  • Ask question you actually want answers to. In the same vein, if you’re going to ask questions, come up with something that will help your business. Try to get constructive feedback about your products or ask what your customer would like to see more of. If you’re a musician for example, try asking what kind of bonuses your fans prefer (backstage pass, free tickets, advanced orders, etc.) and then offer the highest-voted perk.
  • Ask questions that are topical or relevant. This is a tricky one. Try to find topics keywords that are both in the news and relevant to your brand.
  • Be clear why you’re polling. Decide what you want out of your poll: Are you looking for more loyalty, honest feedback, brand exposure, engagement? Having this in mind will give you focus and make your polls more useful for your fitness business. If you’re looking for exposure, ask yourself if your poll is something that your fans would share with their own friends. Facebook is great for spreading your message — but only if it’s a message worth spreading.

 

HOW HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF by Jayne Nicholls

 

In the fitness industry we often get caught up in ‘what we know’ without taking into consideration the more important points of ‘what we don’t’ . One of the great things about modern fitness is that it has the benefit of exercise science and so is backed up by research papers. I have talked to many instructors who love to get their hands on the latest research as a guaranteed back up for their exercise prescription. Yet, on the flip of this, so much is practiced without any evidence to suggest that it is effective, true or even good sense. I have always tried to encourage lateral thinking and a look at the bigger picture when it comes to understanding how both us and our clients move. Firstly research is changeable; you only have to look at P Hodges latest research – a different view of the elephant – to see that things change. We were also taught as fact at basic level training many theories that have evolved via further study over time. If I had a pound for every-time I told clients to make sure that they stretch after exercise otherwise they will ache I would be retired. Do I say it now? Absolutely not, I have now progressed my learning to understand that proper stretching is one of the worse culprits for DOMS and also to define what stretching actually is and how it is achieved. In effect like every other area of our lives, we move on, we learn and we move forward. This article will take a look back at both the evolution of dance and fitness revealing how changes are mirrored in both. These changes were not realised through research, workshops and education but by pioneers who dared to push the boundaries of their art to create brand new types of movement that was more functional to perform, more stimulating to watch and which encompassed the changes in society worldwide.

Like many women around the world, I wanted to be a dancer ‘when I grew up’. I was fortunate enough to live the dream and study contemporary dance techniques at degree level, including the history, the pioneers, choreography, criticism and technique.

Contemporary dance is pretty much a modern and progressive form of ballet. The contemporary choreographers took classical ballet and turned it upside down and inside out. They used modern music, modern props and told bolder stories through so many new and exciting mediums. If we apply what happened to Ballet in terms of fitness trends then Ballet was introduced to ‘core stability’. Dancers started to move from the core rather than the Pointe as the classical ballet dancers had to. Classical Ballet dancers were faced with so many appalling injuries due to the unnatural demands that this type of dance made on their bodies. George Balanchine barely believed in warm up and demanded so much from his dancers that they continuously ‘broke’ and worked through extreme pain.

Gelsey Kirkland was one of New York’s prima Ballerinas and she describes her transition from Classical Ballet to Contemporary in the following way:

At the beginning of our first session he (David Howard) sat me down in a chair and told me to get up without using my arms. I discovered that I was unable to rise from a sitting position….I could see that I was going to have to learn how to initiate the impulse for movement from my torso….

As a ballerina she had worked at the barr, on Pointe and via extreme turn out (external rotation) she had learned to move in a completely beautiful and yet unnatural way.

….it was not easy to admit to myself that I had never learned the most important thing about my art. I had never learned where dancing actually originated inside the body; I had never learned where movement began.

There was a methodical progression from inside to outside. Each part of my body had to harmonise within a physical dynamic that was generated and coordinated from the torso.’

If you read her words, it should all sound familiar to the key principles behind moving from the core, core strength and core stability that is practised by virtually every instructor today. She had to learn what the modern dancers such as Baryshnikov had made their own and which set them apart as the new greats. For those of us who take movement from the core for granted, it is hard to empathise with those who don’t. This integral difference between

Each individual’s natural pathway of movement highlights the question whether our aim of achieving core stability for our clients would be much better achieved via visual stimulus, mindful practice and sequenced large range movement like dance, Yoga or weight training

rather than small and specific contractions in small areas of the torso.

As dance broke out of the confines of classical ballet much to the disgust of the balletomanes, new pioneers such as Pilates and Feldenkreis started to develop their own movement techniques alongside the choreographers such as Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, & Jose Limon. Like fitness today these techniques all differed in complexity, impact and skills. It was an exciting time of expression and self awareness.

Joseph Pilates was one of the first people to merge fitness and dance in his short series of exercises called Controlology.  He wanted the entire human race to benefit from the strength and flexibility that was evident in dancers.

‘Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.’ Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates was a fiery passionate man who wanted everyone to be as strong, flexible and vibrant as they could possibly be. His mind set was far removed from many of the remedial Pilates practices we see today.

The science of Controlology disproves that prevalent and all-too-trite saying “You’re only as old as you feel.” The art of Controlology proves that the only real guide to your true age lies not in years or how you THINK you feel but as you ACTUALLY are as infallibly indicated by the degree of natural and normal flexibility enjoyed by you spine throughout life. If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30 you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, YOU ARE YOUNG’

What was most inspiring about the evolution of dance and movement therapy was the desire to move human movement and functional performance forward.

When fitness and dance really started to hit the mass market in the form of Group Exercise we were treated to Jane Fonda, John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis, hip thrusting, circumducting and leaping onto our screens via films and video. We went for the burn and showed of our AWESOME bodies in Lycra thongs. I remember that many of us fell by the wayside very early on through vocal nodules from  screaming so loudly during class without a mic. Can you imagine shouting now? Can you imagine all of the windows fully steamed? So many classes these days are so very, very carefully and gently relaxed that even in the heat we wear more than one layer and we teach in barely a whisper. God how things change.

As I write this article, the nation has just voted DIVERSITY the winners of Britain’s Got Talent. They are a street dance group aged 12 – 24, all boys to men from Essex who believe totally in their art. They were not the only dancers appearing this year, with young boys self taught in locking and popping to other male groups who showed extreme skill. It was a pleasure and an inspiration to see these people bring dance back to the masses.

Back to the fitness industry where dance has taken a back seat over the past few years. Choreography has become a dirty word and those of us who once made our living out of creating routines to music have been pushed out in favour of pre choreographed routines that change en-masse. This prompted us to move into areas that were in need of evolution. Areas such as Yoga and Pilates that were ripe for transformation and development, these forms of movement often based upon Eastern philosophy were perfect for modernisation, specifically for the average man and women who attends the gym and group X classes. We now have Freestyle Fitness Yoga and Fitness Pilates both of which are Level 3 qualifications made for UK instructors with all of their skills and knowledge to teach to the  UK general public. These programs were created over 9 years by UK fitness experts eager to move fitness and functional movement further and further forward.

We welcome dance back into the public domain. Long may it reign.

References:

Gelsey Kirkland with Graham Lawrence – Dancing on my Grave

Joseph Pilates and William John Miller – Return to Life Through Contolology


Wishing you a wonderful Thursday

Love Rachel x

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