I have been teaching in the fitness industry for over 20 years now, and I still absolutely love what I do.
I first qualified as a gym instructor and started working at a YMCA gym showing members how to use the equipment, and putting together training programmes. I became fascinated by how the body adapts to challenges - challenges that we set by training, and challenges that come from everyday life.
I studied, qualified, and taught many different high energy fitness classes, loving every minute of my new career.
Learning about movement compensations on my Pilates course, I became even more interested in how the body moves, supports itself and compensates to be able to complete the movements that we ask of it. I quickly realised that technique is everything; it prevents injury, it gives quicker and better results. I started to concentrate on teaching Pilates, dropping Circuit and BodyPump classes in favour of my new passion. I had chosen carefully with Modern Pilates, an updated version of the original Pilates exercises, put together by renowned physio, Chris Norris and fitness trainer and presenter, Cherry Baker. I loved the way the original exercises were modified and adapted to get the best results for the lifestyles that we lead nowadays.
I continued to study holistic therapies alongside my fitness qualifications, studying Aromatherapy, Indian Head Massage, Reiki, and meditation. In fitness I qualified to teach GP Referral, Disability Training, Personal Trainer, Otago, Exercise for the Management of Low Back Pain, loving the knowledge I was gaining. I trained in many other fitness concepts as well, just for the love of teaching.
I have taught many people over the years, from those with back problems, imbalances, postural issues to those who are very fit and able. I run Parkinson's Disease classes every week; work with older adults (65+), those with MS, and I have worked with Falls Prevention groups. I do strength training with my PT clients. All of these may seem very different but they have one thing in common - I am helping all of my participants to move better and get stronger. Everyone can improve their movement.
In 2011 I qualified as an Intrinsic Biomechanics Coach, and combined with the training I completed as a Structural Bodyworker with KMI, I started to really look at how my clients moved, and how I could help them to move better. I soon realised that i couldn't help many people if i only did one-to-one sessions, and set about putting together a class to help everyone move better. Mmmove® was born. However, there was so much in this class concept that i struggled to see how it would work! So in the years that followed I looked at many different options for it's use.
Whilst i wanted to release physical restrictions, I was aware that mental restrictions can have a huge effect on the physical. Over time, Flow Movement Meditation® evolved, focusing on active relaxation and mindful movement; with Mmmove® becoming more of a workshop type class, raising my clients' awareness of their movement as they deal with their physical restrictions and help to reduce their chance of injury.
I do feel that there is a gap in our teaching knowledge as instructors, and in the types of classes offered on most studio programmes - both in the basics that we all should know before we help people move and exercise; and in the way we communicate movement to our clients. I don't feel that it's right for our clients to just copy our movements; we all move differently. I may not have my movement limited in the same way, as i don't have a sedentary job; so trying to look and copy what I do, may not have the best results for you.
In an ideal world (my ideal world!) all participants would be screened and assessed before classes and types of training. They would start their training working to undo unhealthy movement patterns and restrictions, This way building on good movement and avoiding injury, And these strategies are often SO simple.
I see many people who are only interested in losing weight or being able to do a run; but they have little communication with their bodies, and often aren't interested in developing that awareness until they become injured. So much can be achieved with a little mind/body connection.
It helps us on so many levels to be in contact with our bodies, and to develop awareness and understanding of ourselves. We not only connect with ourselves but this can help us to connect to others.
I feel that we could all benefit from less time indoors, less screen time, more air, more movement, more human interaction. I would say Be More Human, but Reebok has beaten me to it!