Hanna Harris is a US National Trainer and Reebok sponsored athlete for a NZ-based company called Les Mills. Les Mills creates group fitness programs that are scientifically based, pre-choreographed, mapped to music fitness experiences. They have 14 different programs such as BODYPUMP, BODYCOMBAT & CXWORX. Les Mill’s tag line is for a “For a Fitter Planet” with a mission of “fighting globesity one fitness experience at a time”.
Les Mills is based in New Zealand and their company philosophy is heavily influence by the native Maori culture. Once you are in the Les Mills world as a participant, instructor or trainer you are considered part of the Tribe. The principles that guide us are “One Tribe, Be Brave, Change the World”. Principles that Hanna lives by! , While she doesn’t own her own business, being a group fitness instructor and US National Trainer is her side passion outside of her “real” job that she has been committed to for the past 18 years!
We asked Hanna to tell the Tribute community a bit about her, and why she decided to start leading her own fitness classes over 18 years ago.
How old are you?
Where were you raised?
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia!
What you want to be known for?
I want to be known as someone who inspired people to do things they never thought possible. That, because I believed in them and encouraged them to achieve their full potential, they were able to overcome barriers and become the ultimate version of themselves.
What made you decide to start your venture? Tell us about YOUR WHY.
I started doing Les Mills group fitness classes almost by accident when, after being a hardcore gymnast and dancer for most of my childhood, an injury forced me to pullback. I was desperate to do something active and my Mum’s gym had a new class called BODYPUMP. It seemed better than the rowing machine. I tried it and was hooked. I was 17. I was drawn to so much about the class – it was more than “aerobics”, it was an experience where I felt alive, empowered and part of a group effort.
A bunch of years later I trained to become an instructor and discovered my love for leading and empowering people through a tough workout. It wasn’t the calorie burn, or the amount of sweat…it was the smiles on their faces, the high fives between participants, the stories of people who fell in love with themselves again because of a class I taught and the permission I gave them to be strong, vulnerable, invincible, weak, empowered and overwhelmed all at the same time. I love the movement to music because that is what I grew up doing and what my body knows and loves…but what keeps me dedicated to this is the impact that I can have on how people feel about themselves!
Did you leave a cozy Corporate job? Or start a side hustle?
I am lucky that I have been able to continue to teach and train alongside my corporate job…which is good because no one becomes a group fitness instructor for the money.
What inspires you to keep going when the going gets tough?
The dedication of my participants and my desire to grow the “tribe”, to make more people fall in love with fitness and ultimately themselves.
And finally, we asked Hanna to answer these three questions.
My favorite self-care routine is…
To actually take some time for myself…which is hard these days with two kids under 4, a full time job and a side passion. But I’ll take a glass of wine and some HGTV!
The last book I read was ….
Pete the Cat & the Missing Cupcakes ..for the 1000th time.
My best advice to fellow female founder is…
Find your passion and fight for it. I have a HUGE believer that if you do what you love you will find the people that you love. Point in case – I met my husband in my cycling class.