I am not going to lie..... The last three months have tested me!
In February 2020, I co-ordinated the biggest event Aqua Fitness has ever seen in Australia with my team from Acquapole® Australasia..... the first Australian International Aqua Fitness Convention.
During this process I wrote an article for the Australasian Leisure Management Magazine called "Wonders of Wet Workouts. In case you missed it, have a read below!
Wonders of Wet Workouts
Donna Stocker shares her belief in the potential of aqua fitness
Let’s first get rid of the misconception that aquatic fitness is for the older members of the population and pregnant women.
Of course, it is highly relevant and beneficial to these demographics, but what if we jumped outside that box and changed the way we approach aqua fitness? There is so much more to be discovered in aqua fitness and if we invest in our programs, in developing our aqua instructors and empowering them to be the best, update our marketing strategies and look at how we can improve aqua fitness in Australia – then I can assure you, your demographic will change!
Here I often ask, why is it that facility managers will invest in treadmills that each costs thousands of dollars, but think aqua fitness is not worth investment?
Parafield Gardens Swim School in South Australia has tapped into the largely untouched aqua fitness market and it has paid dividends. Since the owners took the leap of faith and started Acquapole® in their centre in 2014, the results have been astounding. They now have a program of more than 25 classes a week – with waiting lists which produced an overflow into their general aqua classes.
In addition, the ages of those exercising dropped significantly and now they have participants from 13 years to over 80 - and every age group in between attending their centre. The classes are also in demand from sporting groups to change up their training and for recovery.
From these results, Acquapole® Australasia was born. A company that imports high quality aquatic fitness equipment into Australia from their parent companies Acquapole® in Italy and SAF Aqua in Poland. The products include Acquapoles® and all their accessories, Aqua Steps, Combat Gloves, SAF Aqua Drums Vibes and a new ‘Liquid Range’ of bikes, jumps (yes, a trampoline that goes in water!) and the Liquid Runsphere (which is like a treadmill but has omnidirectional spheres rather than a belt).
Linked to this are aquatic training programs across Australia and New Zealand, led by Master Trainers Kym A’Court, Samantha Dempsey and myself that upskills staff teams and to get the best out of the equipment and the programs.
In my role as the Fitness Co-ordinator at Parafield Gardens Swim School, I am seeing clients are savvy and more knowledgeable than ever before with the internet providing a range of information and resources on aqua fitness.
As a result, participants are demanding and wanting more from their workouts and their instructors, and are aware of what equipment is available. We receive requests daily where to find classes like ours by participants and requests from instructors for our courses, workshops and mentoring.
It doesn’t matter what equipment you have or how much you market, if you don’t have a great leader who can mentor your instructors, you don’t invest in your team and your team is not driven to provide the best classes nothing will change in the industry.
If you stick to the same old formula, then you will have the same programs and the same demographic. Change can be scary but to improve and to move forward sometimes it is required.
For example, I have has targeted Certificate III & IV in Fitness Qualified instructors/personal trainers and have mentored them to become aqua instructors which has encouraged a young, vibrant energetic team that give their all and are a level above with their knowledge.
Here, Parafield Gardens Swim School welcomes any facility managers or aqua instructors who would like to check out their programs and classes to visit the centre to meet with me and chat about aqua fitness.
Moving forward, I see that the Australian aqua fitness industry is ready for a change and on the verge of realising its huge potential. The European aquatic fitness market is a thriving one, largely due to highly skilled instructors, development, aquatic equipment availability, their creativity and their personal flare.
They instruct with so much enthusiasm it is hard to question their love of aqua fitness.
At Parafield Gardens Swim School we aim to bring this flare to our classes and have modelled what we do on the European market. With this in mind, we have been through lots of training with our aqua fitness team and combined efforts of all our instructors to constantly keep learning and striving the be the best. We consistently share our knowledge with each other and run in house training with our team to provide them with new ideas.
Looking to further promote aqua fitness, I am coordinating the first Australian International Aqua Fitness Convention (AIAFC), an event designed to showcase all that is best about aquatic fitness, how to present the best aqua fitness programs and to show what can be achieved.
Set to be held in Adelaide from 14th to 16th February, AIAFC will feature presentations from aquatic fitness leaders from around the world, with a group including Stefania Manfredi (Acquapole® Co-inventor Italy), Gabriele Tufano (Acquapole® Master Trainer Italy), Andrea Gilardoni and Antonio Russo from Italy representing Euro Education Aqua Italy, along with Joanna Apolinarska from SAF Aqua in Poland.
With recent years having seen so much growth in aqua fitness, as we move into this new decade it’s time to step up and realise the potential of aquatic training.
Donna Stocker is Fitness Co-ordinator at Parafield Gardens Swim School and Co-ordinator of the AIAFC.
The inaugural Australian International Aqua Fitness Convention is being held in Adelaide from 14th to 16th February.
For details call 0412 262 345 or go to www.aiafc.com.au
After meeting the Salti team in early 2019 and experiencing their Salti float class, I was delighted to receive an email from the Directors of Salti Australia Jo Flynn & Brendan Schmid asking me if I would consider working with them to be their Master Trainer.
I absolutely loved their classes and their mission to encourage more people to get active in a fun, light hearted, social & inclusive way. I am passionate about training and mentoring other instructors and with Jo and Brendan's visions aligning with mine......I didn't have to think twice about joining Team Salti!
Since deciding to jump in, I have conducted courses in both Canberra and Adelaide. Both which went amazingly with awesome groups of passionate instructors who have gone on to share the Salti Vibes in Australia.
I am looking forward to future courses and to seeing what the Salti Team bring next to the world of Group & Aqua Fitness!
You can check out more about Salti on their website!
Filex 2019 has been, gone and I have now had time to reflect.
It was my first first Filex Convention as an attendee and as a Presenter and what an amazing way to experience my first Filex! Onto my presentation in a moment, but there is something to be said for being surrounded by so many passionate, knowledgable Fitness Professionals. The feeling of being immersed in all things Fitness is undeniably infectious! To have the ability to learn from and with people who are passionate about the same thing as you certainly brings the energy, ignites that passion even more and makes the fire in your belly burn brighter than ever.
To have the opportunity to be part of the Australian Aqua Presenter Team at Filex was huge for me and one I am very grateful for. Working alongside seasoned presenters such as Annette Chatterton, Claire Barker-Hemmings, Maria Teresa Stone, Marietta Mehanni, Lisa Westlake & Christine Naysmith was a huge learning experience that was really valuable as not only a presenter but an instructor. I applaud our Australian "Aqua Man" Dominic Gili who was instrumental in Aqua being part of Filex in 2019. I am sure we are all grateful for his determination to get Aqua back on at Filex, his organisation, support, encouragement and wisdom.
So I guess you could call me one of the newbies in Australia on the presenting scene!! I wasn't alone in the newbie department with Lianne Tiemans also joining the fun with her "KIS your HIIT" session and Marlee King with her "Aqua for all ages" session. I must admit, I felt a little pressure being amoungst such prestigious Aqua Presenters! Was I nervous for my session? Hell yes! Having never been to Filex before I had no idea what to expect, so I put my best foot forward and did it my way.
My session was "Creative Choreography Concepts" based on Add-on choreography methods to reach an end goal routine. Choreography has a way of creating confusion for some intructors. I wanted to deepen the knowledge into how creative you can get with choreography without the method being harder. Once I started my session my nerves disappeared and all went very smoothly. Could anything be improved? Always! Nothing is ever perfect and you will ALWAYS learn something from delivering sessions and trainings. The reception I received from all the participants in the pool was a good one. From their reactions they enjoyed it, had fun, were engaged, kept warm (the pool was cold!) and learned a different way to choreograph while learning different moves in the process. I certainly had a ball with everyone and it will be a memory I won't forget!
I have recently received my feedback and you can read some of the the comments I received:
"A fabulous session. Best masterclass of the day. Donna was well rehearsed and offered a variety of choreography options. Lots of energy and lots of fun!"
"Brilliant.. first timer presenter was obviously very experienced and prepared. High energy and great presentation, even the hard heads were impressed. "
"I have never seen so much energy and with it motivation for all participants from a presenter. Donna was unbelievable!"
"Donna Stocker just raised the bar as to were Aqua Fitness should be. Gold star!"
"Fantastic Choreographic Aqua Routine with plenty of combos made easy as only Add On method used so Instructors followed well and all planes covered and intensity levels."
Thank you to everyone who joined my session at Filex and I hope you have managed to find it useful for your classes. I look forward to seeing you at more of my sessions as I move forward with my future in presenting. Make sure you check in on my Trainings and Workshops page on my website to see where I will be presenting in the future.
If you would like a copy of the video of my session, please drop me a line via my contact page.
This year, 2019, I wanted to kick off my year with a challenge! What better way to do that than to pick an Instructor Course to upskill myself.
I have been watching the Pound® Rockout Workout program for some time on social media and thought it looked like an absolute blast! With no classes in Adelaide to go to try, I was going in blind. I knew it was a high energy drumming land based class to awesome music, but that was pretty much it. At the very least, I was hoping I may pick up some different drumming combinations for my SAF Aqua Drums Vibes classes but was I in for a lot more!
We kick off our training with Master Trainer Pound Pro Icon Kristen Weitzel, from LA, with a Masterclass. From the very first track was when I knew Kristen was an inspiring, energetic and knowledgable Master Trainer and that our day togther was going to be awesome.
Instead of listening to music, you become the music in this exhilarating full body workout that combines cardio, conditioning, and strength training with yoga and pilates-inspired movements. Using Ripstix®, lightly weighted drumsticks engineered specifically for exercising, POUND® transforms drumming into an incredibly effective way of working out.
Designed for all fitness levels, POUND® provides the perfect atmosphere for letting loose, getting energized, toning up and rockin’ out! The workout is easily modifiable and the alternative vibe and welcoming philosophy appeals to men and women of all ages and abilities.
Each 2-4 minute song is carefully calibrated with interval peaks and extended fat burning sequences, providing you with the best workout in the shortest span of time. After you’re done rocking out in a 45-minute POUND class, you’ll have completed up to 15,000 hits with your Ripstix and 500 squats!
Numerous studies have proven the powerful brain-boosting, stress-relieving effects of drumming. The rhythm of drumming permeates the entire brain to improve focus, increase higher-level thinking and decision-making skills, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, decrease chronic pain, anxiety, and fatigue.
You’ll burn up to 900+ calories per hour, strengthen and sculpt infrequently used muscles, and drum your way to a leaner, stronger physique – all while rocking out to your favorite music!
You’ll drastically improve your rhythm, timing, coordination, speed, agility, endurance, and musicality. Instead of counting reps or keeping track of the clock, POUND strategically distracts you from the high-intensity and duration of your workout, and shifts your focus to rhythm and volume. This strategic distraction is responsible for the “addictiveness” of POUND – the reason you can’t stay away!
My verdict...... I LOVED IT! The high energy, the music, their mottos and what they stand for, their training protocols, and it was an awesome fun workout. I am feeling it today in my legs, glutes, ab's and arms. I highly recommend this instructor training! If you love music, dance, fun and powerful workouts that leave you feeling like a Rockstar, you will absolutely love this.
Look out Adelaide, my friend Adel and I are bringing POUND® to rock out with you!
Stay tuned for classes coming soon where you can unleash your inner Rockstar!
Let's talk about New Years Resolutions! Do you have them? Have you had them in the past and do they work for you? Me personally, I don't do New Years Resolutions.... I can tell you from my Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer experience that a lot of people don't stick to New Years Resolutions. We often see an influx of participants in Gyms, Pools & Bootcamps come January 1.......... but how long does this last? Most people don't stick to their New Years Resolutions... and I can say I have been one of those! Why is this?
When people have these grand plans of New Years Resolutions, they usually go all out. By this I mean too big! Starting small if you are wanting to change something or achieve something is a sure way to meet your goals. For example, as a PT I hear people say to me I will exercise every day and change my diet to healthier options starting January 1...... Does this work for most? NO! Why? To many changes all at once! Start with exercising 3 times per week. Once you meet this goal move onto the next of changing your diet to healthier options. Then to increasing your exercise regime to more frequently. Hell you may even want to add on a specific exercise goal like being able to perform a push up by a certain time of the year! The key to success is baby steps!
An effective way to set goals is to use the SMART method, which stands for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Setting realistic goals using the SMART goal setting process can help with client adherence, motivation, progress tracking, and reducing relapses.
SpecificThe goals must specifically state what is to be accomplished. They must be clear and easy to understand and should not be ambiguous. For example, rather than your client stating that she would like to “get fit,” she can create a more specific goal such as “I want to run a 5K.”
MeasurableThe goals must be measureable so that a client can see if he or she is making progress. For example, a goal of “I want to lose 5 pounds” has a measurable component compared to “I want lose weight,” which is more ambiguous.
AttainableA goal should be realistically attainable for the client. The achievement of attaining a goal reinforces commitment to a program or healthy change and encourages the client to continue. For example, a goal of “losing 30 pounds in 1 month” is not an attainable goal. However, “losing 1 to 2 lb a week for a total of 4 to 8 lb in a month,” is attainable.
RelevantThe goals must be relevant to the particular interests, needs, and abilities of the client. For example, heavy resistance training would not be the best approach to training for a half marathon. However, engaging in a progressive running program would be a suitable strategy for building the endurance required to complete a half marathon. In addition, the goal must be one generated by the client, not the fitness professional, so that it has enough personal meaning to motivate the client.
Time-boundThe goals must contain an estimated timeline or deadline for completion. Timelines can be both short- and long-term and should help the client stay focused and on track. For example, a client can be given weekly tasks to accomplish a larger achievement over a 6-month time period. In this case, short-term goals are accomplished weekly, whereas the long-term goal will be reached in 6 months. Clients should be evaluated regularly to monitor progress toward goals.
What ever your goals, you can use the SMART method. My goals for 2019 are pretty simple..... spend more time with people who nourish my soul and make me happy, consistently train to maintain my fitness levels allowing me to produce the best possible classes, trainings and experiences for participants and to educate myself to be the best I can be. I have already mapped out those goals for 2019....... I would love to hear what your SMART goals are!
2019..... Let's do this!
Donna :) xo
Fitness Australia announced last week the full program for Filex in 2019. The Aqua community is a buzz that Aqua Fitness is back on the program for 2019!
Filex is the biggest and best Fitness Convention in Australia...... it has been a bone of contention for the Aqua Fitness Industry with it being taken of the program for the past few years. In 2019, you will see Aqua Fitness back with ten amazing sessions.
Dominic Gili, Aqua Fitness Professional and International Presenter was instrumental in advocating for Aqua Fitness to be back on the Filex schedule. The ten sessions scheduled are five Lectures and five Masterclasses by some of Australia's leading presenters. You can check out the schedule here:
Why should you support Aqua Fitness at Filex?
Aqua Fitness was taken off the Filex program for the past years due to the lack of interest and logistics of the Aquatic Faclity off site. 2019 is the year we can show that Aqua Fitness is just as successful as other fitness programs. To do this, we need bums on seats to all the sessions! This means we need YOU! We need you to register, attend and support the event. Not only it is great to support this event, but upskilling as an instructor is vital to moving forward with industry trends, your personal development and will help create new ideas for you and your participants. Not to mention networking with your peers is super fun!
So what are you waiting for? Register to join Dominic Gili, Marietta Mehanni, Maria Teresa Stone, Claire Barker-Hemings, Christine Naysmith, Lianne Tiemens, Debi Godfrey, Annette Chatterton, Marlee King, Donna Lohmeyer and Myself for some awesome Aqua Fitness sessions.