May All Your Ups and Downs be on a Trampoline: Meet Marina Ivanov

Most people don’t think of trampolining (or jumping) as an intense sport and that’s because they’ve never attended Marina’s class. Each jumping class is a high-energy test of stamina, endurance and strength; and Marina teaches her classes with the same fervour.  She’ll find your limit and push you to it as close as possible, because when you say you “can’t” she knows that you can and when you do, you’re ever more thankful for her encouragement.

After years of various sports including swimming, gymnastics, and basketball – plus a blossoming jazz ballet career, Marina forewent the opportunity to study dance professionally and decided on studying business at university instead. And thankfully she did because that brought her here and she hasn’t looked back since.

Life at trivago: For those of us that know you, it’s quite obvious you come from a very sporty background; but how exactly did your fitness/sport journey start?

Marina Ivanov: My fitness background started 29 years ago. I learned how to ski before I could walk – which explains a lot. [laughs]

Lat: Ok, you’re going to have to tell that story.

MI: I have a sister that is 14 months younger than me and every year my family would go on ski holidays. My mom, the year she was pregnant with my sister, said to my dad; “well, we have a crawling baby at home and I’m pregnant so I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to go this year.”  My dad was like: “yes, not for you but Marina is coming with me.” So, he bought me small skies with teddy bears, put me in between his legs, and taught me how to ski. Two months after my first time, I was able to go on my own. I think that explains my passion for sports; it’s in the family.

Baby Marina at the Brezovica Ski Resort

Lat: Describe what you teach at trivago.

MI: I teach a jumping class twice a week. I think when you hear jumping, you always think of kids playing, or something that’s not intense and more for fun. But it’s been proven that jumping is a very effective way of training. Benefits range from low-impact on knees and core strengthening. Most importantly, it improves your stamina and total balance which can help with other sports.

Lat: Let’s take a step back; what exactly is “jumping”?

MI: Jumping is a workout on small individual trampolines where you jump or bounce using the same moves you’d use in a normal workout; for example, jumping jacks or running with high knees. It burns calories and doing everything on a trampoline really makes you focus as you need to think and keep balance in addition to coordinating all the moves.

Lat: When did you start teaching jumping classes?

MI: I started in august 2015.

Lat: How did you start teaching this class?

MI: I was spending nearly every evening at the local gym where a lot of trivago people were training. After finishing my workout I’d help my colleagues with equipment and exercises. Most time I’d end up staying there nearly four hours after my work out! So in turn, I was spending waaayyy too much time at the gym. However, I was then approached by someone in T&O [Talents & Organisation] and asked if I wanted to do something internally.  At that time, I did not yet have my personal training certificate so it was a bit of a terrifying thought. I first wanted to pass the exam and learn more about muscles and bones, and in general, more technical stuff.

Once I got my certificate, I agreed to teach something but didn’t want to overlap with the class schedule we currently had. I thought about doing something outdoors but the weather here doesn’t really help with organising consistent outdoor activities. But after another look at the workout schedule, I realised we really lacked cardio options. I went back to T&O and suggested that if we invest in a few trampolines, I can fill that cardio gap.  We started with 10 trampolines, then ordered 10 more, then 10 more… and now here we are.

Lat: Your classes seem to have grown since the beginning; how many people now attend?

MI: Well I teach two classes; one in the morning and one in the evening. The evening class is regularly 20+ people, where the morning class is about half. However, my personal goal this year (2018) was to have more than 15 and so far, I’ve managed! So in the morning we’re now around 17. Most of them are either from my team or sit near me.

Lat: Were you a bit shy teaching your first class; what was scary about it for you?

MI: I was not shy per se or not confident with my fitness level and abilities, but it was rather the presentation of everything. I’ve always kind of had issues presenting stuff, like even in university so I think the anxiety came from something else. But the thing I worry about mostly is keeping everyone safe. Yes, sometimes injuries just happen but I feel a deep responsibility for everyone in my class. I try to push and motivate everyone to work their hardest and do their best but it’s sometimes hard to figure out when someone is pushing and giving me 110% or really going against their body because they feel like I’m making them. But I’ve never had an injury in my class! Oh, and I don’t have a problem with shyness now [laughs]. At first, I had a strict plan with every move, how many minutes, and now it’s a lot more freer.

Lat: In saying that, is there a plan or an outline for each class?

MI: I usually meet with Patrick [bootcamp and vibrations plate instructor] and we plan our workouts for the week because he has Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and I have Tuesdays and Thursdays and a lot of our participants do both classes.

Lat: So – you knew that on Monday he made us do abs and yet on Tuesday we had to abs again with you?

MI: [laughs] He was supposed to do abs with more of a focus on legs. It’s not my fault if he didn’t follow the plan.

Lat: Sure, sure…

MI: Regardless, we try to make the week balanced especially for those only doing one or the other class.

Lat: Your class is mostly attended to by women; have you tailored your class to your participants? If so, what would be different if the split was more even?

MI: In the beginning I was really trying to promote the class to both sexes because a lot of guys thought the class was only about teaching people how to jump on a trampoline. And that made me really want to prove that it was more than that so I organised boys-only sessions…and it was: Hilarious! Firstly, nearly all of them could not coordinate their moves. They could not balance, nor did they have an idea of how unfit they really are. So, the second session was a battle against the sexes which was even better because the women proved to be a lot stronger and better. And for me it was pure fun. But then after a while some of the guys stayed and some of them stopped coming…

But at the end of the day I’m happy with my little community. I say community on purpose because I really feel the connection between all of us. It’s important for me to really get to know every person that comes to my classes. From backpain to fitness goals to other aspects of training I can assist with, I really try to get to know every person and then I tailor the class. If I see someone struggling, I then know why and I really try to motivate them from there.

I see a difference between my class and perhaps some of the other classes because most participants support and have each other’s backs; during, before and after class. For me, it’s a super, super nice feeling when I say we’ve created this kind of self-sustaining community. Even when it comes to the music in class, I always ask them to share their favourite songs and try to incorporate it into the lesson. I think things like this help. But that’s not to say no one else is welcome, everyone is always welcome to class.

Lat: What is one exercise people hate that you secretly love making them do?

MI: Tabata. I love it. I LOVE IT. [editor’s note “I knew it!”]

Tabata training is defined as a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. It’s made up of about eight or so ultra-high-intensity rounds where you really push hard for 30 seconds then off for 10 seconds. With us on the trampolines, I push everyone to do their hardest running sprints for 30 seconds then various types of jumping jacks for 10 seconds.

I always do this exercise closer to the end because when you think it’s done [laughs] here comes the third Tabata!

Lat: Is there anything you’d like to add?

MI: If someone told me five years ago when I wasn’t a trainer, that I would really enjoy doing this, I wouldn’t believe them because I like sports and I really, really, enjoy them … but it’s hard to push someone if they don’t really want to do it. So, for me I thought “why would I want to lose my time doing this if this person doesn’t want to listen or try.” But I really, really, enjoy this so much! And when I come back to my desk and I get an email or a Slack message from someone saying it was amazing or see the results; it just gives me so much more energy to continue. I’m really inspired by the girls coming and constantly trying to improve; that really motivates me. It’s not like I’m there to be a robot and leave. I’m really inspired by the people that make an effort to come and something as small as accepting my meeting invite is really nice and fills my heart.

trivago people can join Marina every Tuesday at 17:00 and Thursdays at 08:00.

All photos by Sabina Woller

Janine Cushnie
Janine Cushnie

Janine is part of the Descriptive Text Collection team at trivago. She will be touching on such topics as our trivago sports (we have many!) mindfulness and well-being.

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