Potenza - co-creator of the new full-body fitness programme Pound - was introducing the cardio workout to a room scattered with men and women kicking and swaying and moving to the rhythm of the “drums” at the Sandton Virgin Active on Friday morning as part of the awareness drive of the class that hits selected gyms across the country from March 1 this year.
The work-out fused full-body movements and drumming with lightly weighted drum sticks as music blared across the exercise studio.
The room thundered with dozens of hands waving the green sticks, beating them in the air, on the ground, left to right and side to side in conjunction with the exercises.
Potenza and her team - who are from Los Angeles, California - have been in the country since last week, training 90 instructors who will carry the baton after they head back for home this weekend.
Potenza, who comes from a athletic background, found when she moved into the fitness realm it went from being about how the body performed to how the body looked - and that didn’t quite sit well with her.
She realised she could combine her passion for drumming with exercise and that could provide the best of both worlds while making her clients feel good about themselves.
But not without a little bit of sweat, as evidenced by Makaziwe Mzana’s face, streaming with sweat after the 40-minute session.
The 35 year-old saidL: “The class was very good - it was a full-body workout and it was fun. Even if you’re a lazy person, you’re able to do the workout - it’s just got that vibe. I like that I felt the work in my abs and it also added in squats and also worked my back. And at the end, there is a stretch which I also enjoyed - I’d love to do this class everyday.”
Curious staff at the gym, hearing the “whoos” from revved up participants and hearing the pounding of feet and sticks couldn’t help but stare through the studio glass walls at the demo class.
Potenza, who is fairly petite, cheered on the participants who, 30 minutes in, were evidently feeling the heat in their muscles, by jumping off the podium and onto the floor, doing the moves alongside them and helping them engage with their bodies.
“We know the instructors we’ve trained are going to kill it. It’s been so much fun being in South Africa, training them and showcasing it to gym members. We saw the magic of Pound come alive here - every time one comes into a new community it’s scary, but the people of SA have been so welcoming,” Potenza said.
Ryan Matheson, a “Pound Pro” from a sister Virgin Active branch, said this was the first exercise class he was excited about in five years.
“It’s different... you don’t have to be co-ordinated to do it, it’s fun and brings out a sort of childish nature from people doing it. You want to do it no matter your age, plus it works your buttocks - which is why anyone is here,” he said, chuckling.
Teboho Mongale , 30, agreed.
“It’s fresh and exciting- your whole body gets engaged from your core to your glutes. I would definitely come again,” he said.