Dream Chaser – Part 4

As I’m sure you could have expected me to say: the BodyAttack 96 filming rehearsal class was to die for. In the moments leading up to the class, I had felt a bit fatigued physically, my legs heavy, and my breathing a bit more laboured than usual. I should have known better than to worry, because the moment the music started, it was like I had spent the past 2 weeks sleeping in preparation for the class and I was ready to rock!!

Like I  mentioned in my last post, I loved how informal and approachable the filming team was. They were joking around with each other and with us for most of the class (I distinctly remember Lisa saying “Oh come on – I’m not your mother!!” at some point), and just seemed to be a really fun loving group. That being said, Lisa took the rehearsal class seriously as well, and was very particular about where she wanted people to  be standing on stage  in relation to each other, how they transitioned between moves etc etc etc it became very obvious to me very quickly how and why the BodyAttack DVDs always look so impressive and perfect in finished product!

I don’t think I stopped beaming the entire hour; I couldn’t have been any happier than I was in those moments (at least so I thought ;)).

I didn’t get the opportunity to chat with any of the presenters after class, but that was okay, both my mom and I were feeling pretty exhausted by that point, and we had both reached the end of our super human powers. 2.5 days, about 8 hours total of sleep, and about 2 meals in total had caught up to us, and we were both totally wiped and ready for bed (side note: it was only about 7pm at this point! LOL)

We trudged back to our hotel, me chatting my mom’s ear off about the ins and outs of the class that we had just done and her gamely nodding along, agreeing with me that it was “sooooooooo good” (lol). We had dinner at a very fancy restaurant right in our hotel, simply because we were too tired to go exploring anymore in the city. The restaurant was named “FISH”, and we both had just that (though truth be told, the restaurant was way too fancy for both of us, we really had no clue what we were ordering – but thankfully, it turned out to be pretty tasty!). The view from the restaurant was beautiful, overlooking the Auckland Harbour, and that was definitely the best part of the dinner for sure.


We passed out right away when we got back to our room with the plan to get up for Gandalf’s BodyJam 80 rehearsal class at 10:10am in Studio One.


We were both up the next morning pretty early (still totally and completely confused about what time it was and what meal we should be eating LOL), had a quick breakfast in our room of the stuff that we had bought at the grocery store the previous day, and were out on our daily pilgrimage to the gym!

We got to know that walk so well over the next 10 days, I can still picture every turn in the road so vividly in my head!

We got to the gym (what we thought!) was plenty early for the Jam rehearsal, but it turns out that Jam is something of a hot ticket, and Studio One was PACKED!!


The BodyJam 80 rehersal class was amazing. Gandalf didn’t disappoint at all, he was as hysterical and charismatic as I suspected he would be. He had me laughing right from the beginning because I guess the regular Saturday morning 10:10am BodyAttack class had been moved that day into Studio 2 (yes – there is another huge studio at Les Mills Auckland!) to accommodate the BodyJam rehearsal class in Studio 1. Susan Renata was once again teaching the CXWORX class right before the Jam rehearsal, and Gandalf made sure to point her out and tell us that Susan was the GFM at Auckland City, and to thank her for moving the Jam class into Studio 1 because “the Attackers are a bit mad with her right now!” LOL….he then went on to introduce the warmup tracks as BodyAttack, and talk about how funny it would be if someone showed up late to class thinking  it was BodyAttack….too funny!

I couldn’t follow 100% of the choreography for BodyJam 80 the first time around, it was a bit hard for me to see the presenters feet (critical for do-dos like me in BodyJam – LOL), but I did my best to follow along and had an awesome time doing it! My mom also did the class with me and she did awesome as well!

After class, I absolutely made myself work up the courage to go up to Gandalf and introduce myself, and thank him for the class. I am a huge introvert and naturally very shy (I know, I know, hard to believe if you’ve taken any of my classes, but I promise, outside of the gym and without a microphone on my head, I really am quite introverted, and don’t make friends easily at all!), but I knew that this was probably my only chance to chat with Gandalf (maybe ever, in the 10+ years I’ve been teaching for Les Mills, he’s never been to North America!), and with a little prod-along from my mom, I just couldn’t miss the opportunity!

G was very nice, gamely listened while I babbled on about how amazing BodyJam has been doing in Canada (seriously – I’ve noticed a huge upswing in BodyJam in the past few years!), how truly talented and incredible our Canadian BodyJam instructors are, and how much we would love to see him in North America some time! I also apologized for kind of butchering the choreography in the rehearsal class, which made him laugh and say, “Oh my god, you are such a Canadian – why are you apologizing?!” We took this picture, and I was totally happy that I had worked up the courage for the whole interaction.


After class, we made our way back down into the main lobby of Les Mills Auckland where we made a quick stop into Platinum Sports to pick up some more Reebok gear for friends at home and for us as well.

As we came out of Platinum Sports, I noticed Amanda and Lisa across the lobby, they had just come from a BodyStep rehearsal class (or actually, it may have been another BodyAttack rehearsal class…I can’t be sure!). I had briefly connected with Amanda on Facebook before we left (she had done my AIM training for BodyAttack the past summer at Can Fit Pro), and she had said to be sure to come up and say hi when I got to New Zealand. Feeling slightly emboldened from my previous interaction with G, I decided to take her up on that offer and go up and say hello!

While I don’t think she recognized me at first (nor would I have expected her to!), she was super sweet, gave me a huge hug and welcome to New Zealand, and then tugged on Lisa’s arm to introduce me to her! I’ve met Lisa several times over the course of my worship instructing career, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually introduced myself to her by name or anything like that. It’s been more a steady stream of babble about “you’resoawesome, BodyAttackissoawesome, everythingisawesome, iloveyou”…….oh, that and misplaced comments about how her hair looks on the DVD…..sigh…..

Anyways, this conversation miraculously went so much differently! I asked how the rehearsals were going, and they told me a bit about their upcoming schedule (I had planned to attend the BodyStep rehearsal class the next morning!). Lisa then noticed that I had thrown on my TORONTO shirt that they had given out at Can Fit Pro a couple of years back and asked if I actually lived in Toronto. I said yes, just outside of the city anyways, and she asked if she could take a picture on HER PHONE to post for the BodyAttack 96 filming?!?!???! WHHAAAAAATT!?!??!?! Thank goodness for cool heads prevailing (read: my mom) and taking my phone to get a picture for me as well, because I totally was in mad fan-girl mode, and wouldn’t have thought of it at the time!


This picture ended up being posted to LISA’S Instagram account later that day – amidst a flood of texts and messages from my friends back home!! Ahh!! So exciting!!

My mom and I had the best day after our exciting Les Mills morning. We headed back to the hotel to get showered and changed, and then back out on the town. We had lunch at a really cute restaurant on the wharf named “The Crab Shack” which served freshly caught seafood, in a cool, pub style atmosphere, and were then on our way to cross one item off of my mom’s list: to see penguins while we were in New Zealand. LOL – oh how different our lists are!

There was a huge aquarium just a few minutes away by bus, so we hopped on the bus, and were off. As we drove, I couldn’t get over how absolutely stunning the lush green landscape and the water were. It’s just a bit staggering to imagine how much water was surrounding this little slice of land that we were on.



The aquarium was very cool, I’ve never seen penguins up close like this before, and we even found a 10 year old New Zealander who was an avid fan of penguins, and knew everything there was to know about them, who walked us through the whole exhibit!


We spent the rest of the evening at the Auckland City Sky Tower (kind of the Kiwi equivalent of our CN Tower in Toronto!). There is a casino up at the top of the tower (amongst other entertainment!), and I actually ended up winning a few dollars on one of the slot machines lol (cool – now just need to do that 100 more times, and I’ll be heading back towards the green for the overall trip! Lol!).

All in all, it was a truly great first full day in Auckland, and by the time we got back to our hotel room, I just felt so content, peaceful, and grateful. Similar to how I had felt when I got on the plane in San Francisco, I had never felt more sure that I was in the right place, at the right time, and doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing at that moment in time.

We made our game plan for the next day (BodyStep filming rehearsal class in the morning,  bit of exploring / shopping around the city and then the BodyJam and CXWORX filming classes in the evening!! THIS WAS IT!! Show time!!

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