New spin on fitness
SHE'S a Kiwi ex-pat who has made a name for herself in the land of stars and stripes, and now Anna-Rita Sloss is hoping her Hot Hula fitness craze takes hold in Australia.
Ms Sloss visited family in Ipswich this week during a brief stay in which she conducted master classes for her latest batch of trainers, as her plans to spread the health benefits of Hot Hula expanded to yet another continent.
She created Hot Hula in 2009 by combining elements of Pacific Islander dancing and funky reggae inspired fitness training, as a kind of Pacific solution to the Zumba craze that has recently taken over the world.
The result is a relaxed, fun, 60-minute fitness workout - backed up by traditional Tahitian drum beats - that is designed to enhance core strength.
"I was never a gym person myself," Ms Sloss said.
"When I moved to the US in 1991 I played netball, but I gained a lot of weight - I ended up about 210 pounds (95kg).
"I was lucky enough to be mentored by people in the fitness industry and from there I started conducting my own fitness classes."
It wasn't until three years ago that Ms Sloss was asked to personalise her own class.
She took it as an opportunity to draw inspiration from her Samoan heritage.
"This is the first Polynesian workout," she said.
"Hot Hula fitness is all about the core - you're not allowed to move your shoulders at all. It's about isolating those muscles.
"I am very passionate about my goal, which is to put Polynesia on the map. There aren't many well-known female Polynesians."
The plan seems to be working well so far, with the majority of the middle-class white population in Ms Sloss' home town of Orange County, California, taking to Hot Hula like ducks to water.
It's not just California either.
Hot Hula has spread across 19 other US states.
On top of this, Ms Sloss has already made three instructional DVDs, and thanks to her jet-setting ways, the new fitness technique has already infiltrated Italy, Switzerland and the Philippines, with more than 100 Hot Hula trainers ready to teach the program in those countries.
After Australia, England is next on the tour schedule.