My First Time... At GRIT

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Image with man lifting weights. Arrow points to him with text saying 'Alex, GRIT Instructor'. Text on top says 'My First Time at GRIT' and background is yellow, grey and blue stripes

SPOTLIGHT: Alex tells us about his first GRIT class

Welcome to the “My First Time…” series! I’m Ria and I cover all things social media at ANU Sport. Like you, I’m moving through my fitness journey, trying to find the work out that works out for me. Through this series, I’m hoping to share insights and learn about the classes we offer. We can get to know the group fitness instructors and learn about their first time attending the class they’re now teaching. Hopefully by the end of this, we’ll know what to expect so we can be prepared, comfy and excited for our first time!

Let’s meet Alex!

Alex is kind enough to find time for my interview during his lunch break, and calls me from his office. He’s serious but has a charm that makes you want to get to know him more.

I’m conscious that he’s a busy person, so we get straight into it: Who are you?

“I teach GRIT, RPM and BodyPump. I’ve been teaching at ANU Sport since 2012 and I’m the BodyPump program coordinator as well. I guess broader level, I’m also a trainer and presenter for Les Mills (the company that creates our workouts)”

I ask for a couple of rates and hates, and Alex laughs, “I can definitely say I hate cucumbers! And for rates, other than cucumbers I can say I’m a very food-oriented person. Love all food apart from cucumbers.” At this point, I have a sneaking suspicion he doesn’t like cucumbers.

Unpleasant green vegetables aside, we move onto the big question: Tell me about your first time.

Alex sets the scene, “First time I did a GRIT class was back in the really early days of GRIT even being released. It was just a new product at the time, and I was really keen to try it. I was at a workshop for Les Mills and it was before it had taken off in any shape or form in the greater clubs”

“I went in a little bit cocky”, he grins. “At this point I’d been teaching workouts for probably about four years or so, and I was like ‘I’m fit I’ll be fine’ and then got into it and proceeded to suffer horribly for the next half an hour.”

“It’s a good little gut check, an ego crusher there for a while, but on the flip side it became a part of how I train and then I started teaching it”

I’m now interested in how Alex teaches the class, so it’s time for my next talking point: What can people expect from their first class with you?

Alex is serious, “They can expect a really really tough workout.”

“Wait that’s not a good selling point”, he catches himself, laughing, “Let me try and reframe that.”

Alex explains that there are two streams of GRIT that we offer, “I teach GRIT Cardio at ANU sport, but there’s also GRIT Strength.”

“For GRIT Cardio, it’s a bodyweight workout. We’re looking at cardio exercises; squats, burpees, pushups, lunges, without any equipment and at a high intensity. It’s a great workout for building up speed, agility, plyometrics and getting really fit.”

“For GRIT Strength, it’s high intensity interval training using weights, so bars and weight plates. Again, it’s a self-managed workout where you pick the weights that are going to work for you. You’re looking at doing big whole-body movements like squats and clean & presses and rows and pushups and all sorts of basic fundamental movements.”

Alex is cautionary, “It is a high impact workout, you’ve got to keep that in mind, so it’s certainly not a workout to do if you’ve got injuries or are recovering from injuries to your legs or upper body”

I’m a little concerned, but Alex tells me that there are options to make the workout easier, “The first thing I want to do is always make sure that people have an understanding of the correct options for them.”

“I like to personalise the workout as much as I can. It’s not about being fit already when you arrive at the class, it’s about being willing to work hard. As long as you come along with the intention to work hard on your fitness, there’s going to be an option for you, and any option’s a good option. Remember, everyone’s welcome.”

Lastly, I ask if he has any good tips and tricks so that you can get the most out of your workout.

“The first tip is to come in to the class knowing what you’re getting into. Knowing that we’re pushing for a high intensity workout, so it’s not a shock.”

“Just come in with the mindset to work as hard as you can, no matter what that looks like. Be happy to take breaks if you need to, stop and rest. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do all the crazy options in the first workout, it’s something you can build up to long term.”

GRIT sounds intense, but maybe it’s what I need. You might see me in a GRIT class sometime soon.

GRIT runs on Monday and Wednesday at 6:30am. Find our full group fitness timetable here: http://anu-sport.com.au/fitness-centre/group-fitness-timetable