FitSteps® came to life in 2013 as the result of a collaboration between two of the UK’s most famous ballroom dancers and Britain’s most successful swimmer!
During the long, arduous dance training sessions that are an integral part of Britain’s most successful entertainment show, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, Natalie Lowe, Mark Foster and Ian Waite had a great idea.
They decided to mix the graceful steps of Ballroom and the up tempo steps of the Latin dances together to create a really fun, energetic and effective way to stay fit and keep trim that would appeal to everyone, even if they couldn’t dance. A dance fitness programme that is ‘so much fun you don’t even realise you’re getting fit!’
And FitSteps® is unique. It is the first time that classic Latin and Ballroom dances have been brought together with proven fitness techniques and principles to create not only a programme that can have extraordinarily wide appeal, but one that also has the potential to make a real and lasting impact on the health of the nation.
The important point to note is the distinction between the plethora of dance classes that exist and FitSteps®. FitSteps® is a fitness class, delivered through dance. So, our emphasis is on helping people towards fitness; structuring the classes to deliver real, measurable, fitness results.
The programme is based around twelve of the most popular Latin and Ballroom dances and the first class that we’ve launched has elements of six of these dances – Jive, Cha Cha, Samba, Tango, Waltz and Quickstep.
The dances are broken down into easily learnable sections and each section is capable of being delivered at varying levels of effort, accommodating people of varying levels of fitness. They appeal to all age ranges and classes can be run for mixed age groups with ease. We’re proud to say that we have had people from the age of 9 to 74 participating, all of whom loved the experience.
As time goes on we will be developing a wide range of FitSteps® classes, some aimed at particular groups, e.g. GoldenSteps for the mature market and KidSteps for the young.
FitSteps® offers dance and fitness professionals the opportunity to learn how to deliver this dance fitness programme, adding another revenue stream to their business and further developing their skills.
In addition to this, FitSteps® is dedicated to helping these professionals build profitable and sustainable businesses by offering them marketing support and helping them to continually develop their technical and business building skills through membership of the FitSteps® Academy Network (FAN).
Now it’s time to introduce:
The FitSteps® Training Team
Natalie Lowe – ‘FitSteps®’ Co-Creator and Premier Trainer
Born in Sydney Australia, Natalie has always been extremely passionate about life and people. Growing up down under, Natalie developed a love for outdoor activities and sports including athletics, water skiing and fishing.
From school she moved into beauty management, managing and training the staff of some of Sydney’s elite skin care companies and leading cosmetic day spas.
Starting ballroom classes at the age of five, Natalie has been competing nationally and internationally for over 20 years, being undefeated in most of her career in Ballroom and Latin New Vogue.
She has travelled the world starring in the hit stage show ‘Burn The Floor’, visiting more the 17 cities with one of the world’s leading ballroom choreographers, Jason Gilkison.
In 2004 Natalie landed a role on Australia’s No1 programme ‘Dancing With The Stars’. She competed in five series, making four finals, and holding up the glitter ball in 2006 with AFL player Anthony Koutafedies.
Gracing UK screens on BBC’S highest rating programme ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Natalie danced her way straight into the finals with actor Ricky Whittle. She has also partnered Scott Maslin, Audley Harrison, Michael Vaughan, Peter Jones, and Mark Foster. Her professional dancing partner is her ‘FitSteps®’ co-creator, Ian Waite.
Ian Waite – ‘FitSteps®’ Co-Creator and Premier Trainer
He went on to compete internationally, representing England, where he won the title of ‘European Latin American Champion’ at the age of 17. After 15 years of maintaining a top ten ranking position in the world and making European and World finals, it was a natural progression to go into the world of fitness.
Ian is probably best known for his role as one of the professional dancers on the BBC’s hit show ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Having appeared in almost every series aired, competing in six of them, he has built up a following of dedicated fans and has become a highly respected and recognizable figure in the world of dance.
In the last two years Ian has been the presenter of ‘Waite’s Wednesday Warm Up’ on Strictly’s BBC2 show ‘It Takes Two’. He also choreographed the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour and will be one of the stars headlining the theatre show ‘Strictly Confidential’.
Being a qualified Zumba teacher and also the creator of Ballroom Breakout!, Ian’s classes and following have grown in popularity, filling large venues in and around Berkshire.
Mark Foster – ‘FitSteps®’ Fitness and Lifestyle Ambassador
Mark has an extensive medal collection of six World Championship Gold medals from four different World Championships and two Commonwealth Games Gold medals. He made his fifth appearance at an Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and was given the honour of leading the GB team as the flag bearer.
A well known and much loved athlete who by his own admission can’t dance, he was totally converted to dance fitness when he discovered how much fun he had and how fit he felt after working with Natalie and Ian on both the televised and stage versions of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
Damian Lo Cascio – FitSteps® Programme Director
He then went on to manage the fitness side of the Dragons Health Club chain before setting up a new business focusing on a Customer Service Care Pathway.
Damian influenced the customer service experience of new members of over 200 leisure facilities in the UK in 2008, with over 220,000 new members completing a training programme designed by him.
He has also created what Sean Thornton, MD of EZE Fitness calls “the Ultimate Personal Training Sales Tool”.
Ian Parker – FitSteps® Head of Training and Development
An ex-professional Latin and Modern Ballroom competitor, Ian qualified as a Dance Teacher with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) in 1987 and has continued to teach Ballroom Dance over the last 25 years.
As an aerobic, dance and exercise instructor he set up a mobile fitness company called “No Body’s Perfect Ltd”, teaching classes all over Warwickshire (UK) growing the business to sixteen instructors and forty demonstrators, teaching approximately seventy classes per week.
Success with the mobile business led to Ian buying a bankrupt fitness club, turning it into a highly profitable concern which was snapped up by one of the UK’s major fitness operators. He then went on to set up a chain of ladies only health clubs, which he has now sold.
In 2010, Ian returned to his dance roots via Zumba and with five associate instructors under his banner teaches a variety of dance and fitness classes across Warwickshire.
A well-known and respected figure in the industry, Ian has been a keynote speaker at both I.L.A.M (Institute of Leisure and Amenities Management) and I.H.R.S.A. conferences in the U.S.
Peter Farnell – Director
Peter has over 13 years experience in Leisure Industry Marketing, Sales and Finance. He has been involved directly in introducing over 300,000 new members to private health clubs across the United Kingdom, having come from a Marketing and Sales background in the telecommunications industry.
He has been a Director of 4 different Companies in the UK and has trained over 100 sales teams in private health clubs aiding them to exceed targets set for the introduction of new members.
In 2001 he spear-headed the first Million Pound Marketing Team Impact Promotion in a independent small private operator.
Tim Fearon – Director
Over the last twenty years he has worked with a wide range of companies from major blue chip organisations to small, entrepreneurial businesses. Clients have included GE Money, ITV, The Economist Group, Lloyds TSB, David Lloyd, Fitness First, Esporta, Astra Zeneca, Aegis Media, Synovate, Wyeth, Life Fitness, Arthur D Little and Standard Chartered Bank.
He served as a Board Director with Cannons Health and Fitness Plc, and is currently a non-executive director of the Tessera Group PLC.
He is co-owner, with his wife Emma, of The Extraordinary Coaching Company and The Information Product Academy. He is a Master Practitioner and Certified Trainer of NLP.