Natasha Volley is a super star instructor, teaching Bunny Bootcamp, NW Method, Rhythm Nation, Ripped & Stripped, Ballet Barre and Throw Some Shade. Phew! "Trying something new can shock your body in the best way possible, and you discover a whole load of muscles you've never used before!"
Hi Natasha! You teach lots of different classes at Gymbox, do you have a favourite?
Ooh that's a tough one. Ballet Barre is my favourite to teach, helping people find their "turn-out" muscles is a revelation for them as people naturally spend their lives in parallel! Dod you know we have six pelvic floor muscles? The best is when people come up to me afterwards and say, "I didn't know ballet was so hard!" Or adults who danced as a child and have rediscovered their love for it. There's no discipline like it, and I think the perception is slowly changing – it's not all pretty and pink tutus! It's all about the burn and sweat in my class!
For the NW Method, you trained with Nicole Winhoffer in NYC, tell us about that
Nicole came to London to choose her instructors and I happened to be going to NYC for a holiday a few weeks later. Her assistant was away so I stood in. I counted every exercise to keep the pace of the class, and had to do every exercise full out. Anybody who does NW will know the exercises are tough. She helped me a lot as a teacher. We had lots of breakfasts together, and I got to know her and learn what motivates her to keep teaching. Nicole is a trained dancer herself, and we both share the same passion for teaching technique at the same time as sharing the joy of dance. It's not enough to "get a sweat on" anymore, people want to know why we do certain exercises, and how they actually benefit our bodies. NW is like a new education for the body as it works in 360 degrees, and fatigues one side of the body first (you do exercises 1-6 on the right side and then left), whereas in general fitness you alternate sides each time. The strength some of my regulars have gained from NW is incredible, not to mention the better posture, muscle sculpting and better coordination.
In what ways can incorporating a variety of classes into one’s training schedule impact on fitness?
Doing Ballet Barre and NW Method are great classes that compliment each other. Nicole uses lots of dance technique in her method, so you can learn basic positions in Ballet Barre that feature heavily in her class. It means you can execute the exercises correctly and quickly to maximum effect. Variety is important to keep your body guessing, so members should try everything at least once.
What do you believe are the benefits for someone to try something completely new to them?
Running and spinning are prime examples of doing everything forwards! Ballet works your body in every range of motion and the positions work muscle extension and contraction whilst moving in any direction. Trying something new can shock your body in the best way possible, and you discover a whole load of muscles you've never used before! Our bodies are clever machines and get used to routine very quickly, so sometimes you have to mix it up, however scary it may seem to start with.
Which of the classes you teach do members find the hardest?
Without a doubt NW Method! Members don't expect how hard it's going be to do exercises 1-6 for 30 reps each on the right and then back to the top to repeat on the left! In normal fitness exercises we alternate right then left, but Nicole believes by fatiguing one side of the body first, and then the other, creates a more muscularly balanced body as we tend to favour our strong side in everyday life.
If you do see members struggling, how do keep them motivated?
I always go up to members and give modifications if needed, sometimes a firm hand on their back as if to say "keep going" is all they need! I'll always try and add some humour if it's getting tough, laughter takes away pain, right?
What’s your USP as a fitness instructor?
I'm passionate about teaching technique and sharing my love for dance. It's not just about teaching fitness or getting sweaty! Also to train with Nicole in NYC means I experienced the whole package and how it's done over there! Fitness is on another level in the states and I like to think I bring the same intensity to my classes whilst keeping it fun and interesting.
You have trained in dance and musical theatre and teach jazz dance outside of Gymbox – what got you into it at a young age?
I was a strange child, I hated cartoons and loved all the black and white musicals and Bollywood films! When I was three-years-old apparently I said: "Me dance, Mummy" so she looked in the Yellow Pages for a dance school and that was it.
How has your experience been with us at Gymbox so far?
I love how edgy and fun Gymbox is. I often join in classes myself, and all the instructors are just incredible. We don't just deliver classes at Gymbox, we create an experience so members keep coming back for more. I love the members and hearing what they do for jobs, the majority of who have high powered, high pressure jobs, so for them to take time out to come do my classes is a real honour.
Have you ever broken into dance in a public place?
All the time. Me and my best friend Stu are always dancing or choreographing something, so dancing in public is the absolute norm. I often have "verbal dance offs" in public, which is basically if a song is on in a shop you have to basically say 4 counts of 8, and make up a dance and then do it on the spot without thinking. Endless hours of shameless fun!
For those who like dance but are too afraid to try one of the Gymbox dance classes, what would you say to encourage them?
Firstly I would say progression doesn't come from playing it safe! You have to push your boundaries, and if you love dance all you have to do is keep moving one foot at a time, and enjoy the music! As instructors we are there to nurture our members, so fear not of feeling silly or out of your depth. We need you at our classes because without our members we wouldn't have a class, and we feed off the energy and vibe that members bring and vice versa! Try everything at least once!
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