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INSTRUCTOR PROFILE: JESS STOR

by Les Mills Asia Pacific

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“I believe it’s possible to live an active and rewarding social life without compromise. Because of this, I’m proud to be over 18 months sober and 5 years vegan-strong – a journey that I’m sharing online via my website.”

Jess’ daytime job sees her working from home, selling software. “My days are filled with Zoom meetings, and wearing trackies (tracksuit pants) and slippers – so it’s a great combo with instructing.”

Jess’ Instructor journey was originally inspired by her mum – Jana – who is also an Instructor. “My mum grew up in Czech Republic, and moving to Australia in her 20s opened her up to more opportunities than she could ever have imagined! She had a dream to become a fitness instructor and leave behind her work as an admin assistant – which she did! And today, she’s almost 20 years in the industry and has taught everything from BODYCOMBAT® to Zumba to LES MILLS CORE® and RPM®.”

“I'll never forget the day that 16-year-old me was told I was too old for the children's crèche but could participate in BODYPUMP if a parent or guardian was present. Luckily, mum was teaching the class, so this pretty much kickstarted my own love for BODYPUMP and group fitness.”

“I became a Les Mills Instructor when I was 18. I’d just finished high school and was a few weeks off heading to Schoolies*, so it was quite a pivotal time in my life. Instructing is something I’ve taken with me throughout my entire 20s – regardless of whether I was studying, partying or travelling to the other side of the world.”

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“To this day, BODYPUMP has kept mum and I connected (despite living on opposite sides of Sydney), motivated, fit and inspired to share our love for health and wellness with each other and our communities.”

Jess sometimes team-teaches on stage with her mum; an experience that she describes as “an honour”.

“During class, mum likes to bring the old-school club 90s tunes and dance moves, and then I come in with the new-school tough tracks and electronic dance music. We do get mistaken for sisters; and sometimes I’m referred to as ‘little Stor’ or ‘mini Jana’!”

“I’m so grateful that I share my love for health and fitness with my mum – it’s electric! We laugh, dance, make jokes and the vibes are always high-energy and… a little crazy! But the members love it, and often get involved by joining us on stage, or by singing or dancing along with us.”

Jess says the greatest thing about teaching is the lifelong connections she’s made with members and other Instructors. “I still love attending Quarterly Workshops, as sometimes you’ll see a familiar face you haven’t seen in years, but you can pick the conversation up from right where you left off.”

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In 2019, Jess attended Les Mills Live in Singapore. “It was super motivating and captivating to be in a massive room surrounded by a mix of both Instructors and members, all of whom were there to workout and celebrate the joy of Les Mills programs together. It’s experiences like this that I treasure the most, and hope to do more of in the coming years.”

In her spare time, Jess enjoys participating in LES MILLS GRIT® and LES MILLS CORE® classes. “I got hooked on LES MILLS+ (old-school Rach and Dan!) during the first COVID-19 lockdown, and BODYCOMBAT® has always been a favourite of mine – mostly because mum taught it, so I’d often stay back for the ultimate double: PUMP and COMBAT! So, there may be a chance of training in another program one day!”

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In February 2022, Jess completed her first triathlon. “I was used to conditioning and teaching classes on the bike, so this was a massive help once I got out on the road and in the lead up to race day. I found it useful to continue teaching two to three BODYPUMP classes a week, to build strength in my glutes, quads, triceps and core, which directly aids your running resilience.”

“Post-event, I increased my attendance at BODYBALANCE® and Pilates classes, to at least twice per week, and I added mobility work at home – and I think it really helped me recover more quickly.”

Jess believes if she had not become a Les Mills Instructor a decade ago, she’d be a totally different person today. “Becoming a Les Mills Instructor arms you with the confidence, eloquence and ability to instruct and manage a room full of people. These are transferable skills for a lifetime, no matter which industry you find yourself in. It also teaches you self-awareness, adaptability and courage to show up as your authentic self.”

Over the last 24 months, Jess has learned more than ever how important it is to maintain a regular exercise routine – with variety being key for adherence. “Looking after your body looks after your mind which, in turn, helps you look after those around you.”

To follow more of Jess’ journey check her out on Instagram at @itsjesstor or @soberveganfreedom.

Or to be like Jess and spread the love for fitness with the masses, you too can become a Les Mills Instructor, or add another program to your teaching repertoire. To find out more click here.

*’Schoolies’ is an Australian ‘tradition’ where school-leavers head off for a week of celebration after they complete their secondary schooling