It was a clear Wednesday evening, as I entered the gates to the business park in Clapham North, London. I was about to train with Animal Flow Royalty. Someone who is arguably the best Animal Flow Coach in the UK.
This wouldn't be my first time either.
I first discovered Rachel Thompson on instagram. I had recently been suffering with a condition known as FIGF (Fitness Industry Gimmick Fatigue).
Now I'm not going to lie, I had been one of those lifters who was quick to dismiss Animal Flow as powder puff nonsense, and just a weak imitation of dynamic yoga and gymastica natural.
But I was wrong.
After studying her clips on instagram, I was impressed not only by her ridiculous movement quality (she is a trained contemporary dancer), but her versatility in training (she lifts too, and is far from a powder puff) and her depth of understanding completely sold me.
I began training with Rachel Thompson sometime in 2017 and have attended various workshops and classes. Each one slightly different. Learning something new, while still returning to fundamental principles.
This master class at Reach Fitness was no different.
An intimate affair, with a mixed blend of female and male participants of various levels. From complete newbies to coaches, and seasoned movement enthusiasts - Rachel catered for us all.
What first strikes you about her coaching style is her passion and enthusiasm for what she is actually teaching. You can literally see her light up as she gets into the flow of what she is doing...
"Seeing people really [connect] with their bodies is awesome, with animal flow there is no time to think about anything else. It's rare in life that we really find or make the time to find the mind body connection
I had worked out earlier in the day - upper body pressing. I was soon to discover that was a mistake.
Within five minutes of the warm up I instantly regretted it. The muscles at the back of my arm began to lock up. Have you ever had cramp in your triceps? It's bloody uncomfortable to say the least - and I still had another ninety minutes to go.
I grabbed some electrolytes and cracked on. Rachel took a part - part - whole approach to the session. This is where you teach one movement, highlighting the finer details. Then build on to the next one before putting it all together. Never once easing back on her enthusiasm as a coach.
The culmination of these movements would evolve into what would be our final flow.
From beast to scorpion to crab, and a whole host of animals my body would soon rather forget (I had some serious muscle soreness the day after!), we were taken through various transient postures which utilised our body's full range of movement, highlighting strengths and areas that I need to develop. It was great fun.
Then for the grand finale we flowed together with superb synchronicity and precision that would leave Cirque du Soliel in the unemployment line - ok maybe not, but we certainly gave it a good try.
"I love feeling the flow unfold. Learning a move, building a flow. It's like watching magic happen.
Now this may seem obvious,
but if I had 12 months to change your life, the first thing I'd do is find out what is really important to you in life. Not just what you want to achieve with your health and fitness goals, but what really matters to you on a deeper level.
I'd work with you to make sure that the goals you have chosen are actually a good fit for you. Not what you think you should be doing, nor what others say should be important to you, how you look or what you should eat.....
But I'd find out if it actually lights you up, does it fit in with your values, your lifestyle, is the timing even right?
If I had 12 months to change your life, I'd make sure that you'd get quality information on nutrition and training that is evidenced based - not just some guru's opinion. You would get the skills, tools and confidence to make the changes that you need for a better quality of life.
You'd learn that all or nothing behaviour can be very useful, yet when it comes to our health, often their is a better way. With me, you will learn how to create empowering habits that help change stick for the long term.
If I had 12 months to change your life, you'd be surprised to discover that by stacking your wins, both big and small your achievement will be found in places you had never even considered before.
If I had 12 months to change your life, I'd make sure that the time you invested in becoming a better version of yourself, was matched by my commitment to you, and I'd choose to always see the giant within you. I'd be in your corner for every round of the fight.
Let's be honest, it probably won't be easy, but it's most often certainly worth it - and we all need someone who is there to pick us up when we are down, or give us the truth that we need to hear most for our own good.
If I had 12 months to change your life, I'd make sure you knew
I am not there to simply shout instructions or be some sort of advanced google search....
It's your body, your mind, your rules.
If I have 12 months to change your life, by the end of it you would understand deeply that you are far more powerful and capable than you realise.
The truth is, most people over estimate what they can achieve in 12 weeks, and underestimate what they can achieve in 12 months.
"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
That was the main point I hammered home when delivering my talk on the Back to Basics stage at the ten year anniversary of Body Power.
The problem is that I see a lot of personal trainers, coaches and even nutritionists simply spouting the first law of thermodynamics (essentially calories is V calories out) when clients do not get the results that the coaches had hoped for.
I'm guessing that the logic is to shame the people they work with into compliance, so that their ultimate nutrition plan that they created (without their clients contribution) can work it's magic...
Now most people know that overeating can lead to weight gain. You'd be hard pressed to find someone on this planet who,
The stone cold truth is that this golden fact nugget is not why people come to you for help. Does this surprise you?
In my experience clients come to me to;
If all you do is spout nutrition facts and laws of thermodynamics then you are no better than google search (because lets keep it real here, when it comes to information there is probably nothing we as Coaches know that you couldn't find online).
For some, this fact is a bitter pill to swallow.
"Compassion fatigue occurs when you try to fix clients.
As a Coach, I noticed that when I shifted my approach to being Client Focused v Coach Focused I no longer suffered from compassion fatigue, or the desire to "sack" clients.
I recognised that the people I now work with are not broken and don't need fixing (you are more than just the situation that you are in).
That when I noticed this, I gave them the opportunity to take ownership of their results, and the coaching process.
Do you know what happened because of that?
The people I worked with were more likely to stick to the process, and were able to make changes that stuck for the long term. Much to their joy, they continued to get results long after they finished working with me.
That's why I strongly believe that while the laws of thermodynamics have their place (I mean - it's science bro!) when you are dealing with human beings who have complex needs, values, beliefs, and personal histories, you really need to scratch beneath the surface and explore. You must look at the bigger picture, if you are to be truly effective.
This is where your soft skills as a Coach are worth their weight in gold. Look into Motivitional Interviewing, NLP, Solution Focused Therapy - whatever methods that will get you the edge.
While in principle weight loss nutrition is simple, in reality it can be far more complicated. Just take a look at this systems analysis approach to the multiple factors involved in weightloss (prepare to have your mind blown).
So what was my take home message for the crowd at Body Power this year?
It's not about how much you know. The deeper question is,
"Who do I need to be for my client?"
The image above shows you a before and after photo of a member of my Project 12 Transformation program.
The one on the right is when they started, and the picture on the left is a few months further down the line (they are still getting solid results on the program).
Notice any difference?
I'm sure you did.
They say that a picture speaks a thousand words but what this picture doesn't show you is the real transformation that happens to both the men and women that enrol on the program.
The reason that I created Project 12 was that most people overestimate what they can achieve in 12 weeks, and underestimate what they can achieve in a year.
The changes that are made, if any, often faded straight after the program finished, but more importantly, my 20 years experience as a coach helped me to go deeper than your average recently qualified personal trainer with limited experience.....
What I've learned is that the research is clear, simply counting your macros, following meal plans and jumping into a gut busting workout plan is not enough.
Unless exercise and nutrition is combined with strategic behaviour change and relentless support, there is a high chance that you will fail - again and again.
In many cases, the need for weight loss or improving fitness is a symptom, not a cause of dissatisfaction.
In Project 12 we give you the skills and practical tools to address nutrition, training, mindset and other lifestyle factors.
The changes that members of Project 12 achieve are deeper and more profound than your run of the mill weight loss program.
I could go on... but I'll let them tell you in their own words. Here is a screenshot from a sample of what members have said has been the real achievement for them while on the program...
Since the beta test group in 2017, and the 2018 intake in March, I am proud to announce that there is no need for content changes to the program, but what I am adding is few bonus features and gifts for you....
If you are serious about turning your health around, tired of quick fix solutions that simply do not deliver, and want to transform more than just your body (for good), then secure your spot for October by joining our pre-registration list today*
-> Project 12 For Men Pre-registration
- > Project 12 For Women Pre-registration
*Joining the pre-registration list guarantees that when you successfully enrol you will save 40%, and it gets you two free gifts, of DNA Testing (RRP £149) and the introductory mini course (RRP £118).
This is offer is only available to the first 14 people who sign up to either Project 12 Men, or Project 12 Women's Program.
Learn more about the program and secure your spot here today :
-> Project 12 For Women
-> Project 12 For Men