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Guest blog: Mel James, a teacher who's passionate about kids fitness

MelJames TeachingKids

At night I teach Clubbercise classes for adults and during the day I teach PE at a Secondary School. I regularly see teenage girls more worried about their appearance in class, worrying about fitting in and getting it wrong overrule the fundamental enjoyment of getting sweaty and releasing the happy hormones.

I completed the Clubbercise Kids Combo course in 2017, which means I can teach Family, U13 and U18 Clubbercise.

Once a term, I join up with all the local secondary schools for a mass U18 Clubbercise event. The aim is to have fun, meet others and get moving.


As soon as the lights go off, you can hear the screams and feel the excitement. Our young clubbers plan their outfits for weeks. They practice their face paint styles. They genuinely get excited for the exercise.  


It is an amazing, proud moment, seeing the students 'let go'; forget about others in the room, live the moment for themselves and feel accepted.

Unfortunately, some young people, particularly girls never feel this in other PE lessons. I know this because the adults who attend my evening classes, tell me. I don't want my current students to grow up not knowing what exercise can do for them. Some youngsters get it, sports that feature on the National Curriculum give them that enjoyment but some need Clubbercise.

My biggest compliment was from a year 9 pupil who I teach PE twice a week. She's not a natural sports person but tries her best. PE is not her favourite subject but when she said after a U18 Clubbercise session "even I enjoyed that Miss, Thank you" my job was done. That moment you make one difference, that's the glow!

MelJames FamilyClubbercise

Family Clubbercise is also a concept I'm passionate about. My Mum introduced me to dance and I am eternally grateful but I never danced with her, so sharing the love, laughter and fitness amongst families is a real honour.

I asked my clubber Heather what Family Clubbercise means to her and she said "My daughter is 13 and is only off her phone to eat and shower. My son is 7, he can be shy and worries what other people think of him. Initially, it was just me and my boy; he loved it, he came into his own on the dance floor and couldn't wait to tell his sister, who then came to the following session."


"For the first time in ages they didn't argue and had a laugh together... Mainly at my lack of coordination! However, that hour brought us all together and we have been coming ever since."


Personally, I'm coming into my 4th year teaching Clubbercise now and I can't get enough of it! I teach Brownies and Guide troupes, school sessions and reward events, charity nights, Family clubbing and birthday parties, as well as my weekly sessions for adults.

My whole life is a dance floor and I aim to get the whole community having it large with Clubbercise!

Find out more about Family, U13 and U18 Clubbercise >>

 

Sarah & Lucy's Story: Why we fell in love with Family Clubbercise

Sarah says...

I've always done a bit of exercise but not very much and not very enthusiastically.

Clubbercise has fast become one of my absolute favourite classes due to the fact firstly, that it’s in the dark so no pressure on feeling like people are watching your every move and also because the music and routines make you forget you are in the gym sweating away the day’s calories.

However, having two children and a stressful job (I’m a teacher) comes with very little free time, so I often feel the guilt of any ‘me’ time as there is little family time as well.

The gym I go to, Astley Sports Village in Cheshire, encourage family fitness and offer many sessions for kids. The fact that they've introduced Family Clubbercise means me and my 11 year old daughter Lucy get to work out together and always have loads of fun. Lucy has her own kit and glow sticks and now many of her friends and their mums come along too so it has a real community feel. The instructor Lisa has infectious enthusiasm and embraces the kids being there.

The benefits of this activity go without saying! On a cold Saturday morning just after Christmas I expect my daughter would be glued to some form of screen, be it electronic homework, group chat or just watching some telly.


This class removes more of the guilt we face as parents as I am content with the fact we are poking each other with glow sticks in between tracks rather than me battling with her over screen time.


I’m also pleased that I can be there for her as a role model and embed the importance of exercising from an early age and also showing her that the gym is a safe and fun environment full of encouragement.

Which will hopefully mean she will unlikely ever fear the gym or exercise.

Lucy says...

I love it because I get to spend time with my mummy and have fun. It’s good exercise and I love dancing especially with the flashing lights on. Lisa is really kind and loads of fun. My favourite bit is the dance offs we do.

Find out more about Clubbercise classes for familes, kids and teens >>

Sarah and Lucy

Guest Blog: "Before I started Clubbercise I was a size 22. Now I'm an instructor!"

LisaCotterill BeforeAfter

Lisa's Story: 

I left my full-time job as an account manager six years ago to bring my four children up. A few months after I left my job I attended a fitness class and realised how I wanted to change my lifestyle.

I hadn’t weighed myself for a very long time so eventually after plucking up the courage I couldn’t believe it when it said I was 26 stone 5lb and was in size 30/32 clothes, I was very shy and mentally I wasn’t in a good place, I knew I had to do something about it.

I contacted Stacey Cartledge, a local fitness instructor, and asked her for some help. She was amazing to me and gave me some fantastic advice.

I changed my eating habits and completely re-educated myself about foods. I became really close friends with Stacey and would attend every class she would instruct and loved every second.

I used to set myself small goals however after a while my weight loss slowed down.

Then Stacey did the Clubbercise instructor course. I absolutely loved her first class. I loved everything about it; the music the glow sticks and the fact it was in the dark. It turned me into a different person... when those lights went off I felt so confident.


Before I started Clubbercise I was a size 22, I now wear size 10/12 and weigh 12 stone. I still love my food and never go without it, I just learned how we can have anything as long as it’s in moderation.


I’m a completely different person now. I can socialise much better and not only has it physically and mentally changed me. Most importantly, it's made me a better mum to my children!

I wanted to get back into work after having Seth, my youngest child, but wanted to do something that would benefit other people, something that could potentially change someone else’s life and have a lasting impact on them just like it did for myself.

So earlier this year I booked, attended and certified in Zumba and have now moved onto Clubbercise whilst also studying towards a level 3 personal trainer diploma.

If someone had said to me 5 years ago that I would be a size 10/12 clothes size and standing up at the front of a group exercise class with a room full of people watching me I never would have believed them. But here I am making it happen and in fact I’m now covering fitness classes for Stacey who introduced me dance fitness back in 2013, I’m loving every minute, eager to learn more and excited for what the future brings.

Find a class in your area or Become an instructor 

Guest Blog: How Jen Got Glowing Again

18-year-old Jen had lost her lust for life, to the point she was diagnosed with depression. Through Clubbercise, she found her inner glow again. 

 Jen's Story: "Clubbercise is my happy and safe space."

Joining a Clubbercise class was one of the first big steps that I took after being diagnosed with depression, in order to create some sort of meaning for myself.

I’m lucky enough to have a friend, Lou, who was just as intrigued by the concept as me.

I messaged the instructor, Anna, to find out more information. It was the best thing I’ve ever done! We went to our first class in January 2018 and fell IN LOVE with both the activity and the ‘glow family’ we were adopted by!

There are no words to describe how I feel when I walk into the room and know that I can just be Jen for an hour.

My mental illness turned me into someone who I have never seen as my true self... I changed from a super-bubbly and outgoing person, to someone who was extremely anxious and unmotivated. 

However, Clubbercise offers me the opportunity to be exactly who I am, and feel exactly how I feel with no judgement. It also leaves me feeling AMAZING every single time!

I've gained so much confidence that I surprise myself sometimes... I started at the back of the class but now frequent the front row… 2017 Jen would never have believed it!

Clubbercise really is ‘exercise in disguise’. I mean, where else can you cover your face in UV paint and glitter whilst waving around glow sticks and singing your heart out to 90s classics in ridiculously bright leggings without feeling even the tiniest bit out of place?!

The idea that the class is done in the dark is one of the things that makes it so uniquely empowering for someone who is uncomfortable in public scenarios like I used to be. This is what caught my attention to begin with.

There’s no need to worry about how silly you may look, only how great you feel! Thursdays are now my favourite day of the week! I never laugh or smile as much at any other point of the week, and if that doesn't speak for itself, I don't know what will.

Jen and her glowfamily

Jen (front row left), instructor Anna (front row, middle) and the 'Glow Family'

Exercise has never really been a passion of mine, but Clubbercise has been the main contributor to the positive flip in attitude that I’ve experienced this year… It kickstarted my obsession with fitness and simply finding a purpose to get through the week. I often find that I tell myself ‘as long as you get through to Thursday, you will be okay’. This is all down to the class itself and the wonderful people involved!

Prior to walking through the door for the first session, I had nothing that would entice me out of the house, sometimes out of bed. Now, I jump at the mention of EXTRA classes, and I manage to get through the week, even when I feel at my lowest because I know that Clubbercise is what makes me feel alive. Clubbercise is my happy and safe space.

I was told by someone not too long ago that you need to find something that is worth living for, something to help you make the right decision on your darkest days.. Although it’s cheesy, Clubbercise is just that for me and I think that if it weren’t for the class, and the instructor, Anna, and my friend Lou, I wouldn’t be here anymore. Dramatic, but oh so true.

 

Find a class in your area or Become an instructor 

 

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