Fitness And Love

Touchy subject this one.  First of all, let’s get one thing straight. I am not about to suggest that being fit and superficially attractive is the way to find love. After all different strokes for different folks right? I am however suggesting it will benefit both YOUR heart and YOUR mind on this quest for ‘the one’.

This opinion does not come from, what now feels like a lifetime, staring at Instagram looking at arched back temptresses and 12 pack ab’d males and thinking is this how we get the best partner? It comes from nearly 9 years of day in and out observing, listening, and consoling clients in the mysterious ways of love.

Deep deep deep deep down we ALL want to find love. Some of us have already found it and some of us are still awaiting that lightning strike moment.  Let’s focus for the minute on those of us still skipping solo through the streets waiting to find prince/princess charming. 

Almost all of my single clients throughout the years have all looked to fitness as the answer to finding love;

“I just want to lose some weight to look better in a dress”

“Can we do abs? I have a date tonight”

What I’ve come to realise is that it’s all about your mind. I can only speak about what I’ve seen over the years but generally people who don’t exercise are more stressed, unhappy, have more injuries, their health status is nowhere near someone who runs, lifts, stretches, watches their food etc. Think about it. In fact, let’s look at me.

I can remember a time when my health was terrible. I still looked ok aesthetically from years of ‘nightclub weights’ (doing chest and arms almost every day for 5 years!).  But we’re talking curries, pizza, drinking heavily on the weekend, lack of sleep and hardly any flexibility or mobility. I remember how it felt. I was constantly tired. No one will become attracted to a tired face with black rings around the eyes.  I was carrying a little extra body fat.  Now on this subject, it’s what makes YOU feel good.  I don’t like carrying extra fat so it makes ME feel bad about myself. I find it lazy and unhealthy so that effects my confidence levels. It made me a little more closed in my personality. Not an attractive trait in someone openly looking for love.

I’ve watched clients turn from hunched over, stiff, heavy breathing, unfit versions of themselves into upright, confident, clear skin, glowing, strong individuals and I am telling you right now It’s worked for them in love. If you’re happy in yourself, in how you look, then you exude confidence. Exercising regularly means you have a regular endorphin release which are effectively happy hormones.  They make you feel energised, confident and ready to take on the world.  Relate that back to sex, we feel the same way after orgasm.  So, you’re single and you see 2 versions of a possible partner.  Do you go for the unhealthy tired looking one or the glossy, confident, energised version?  EXACTLY.

But what about the married or in love lot?  The bunch that make the single sick when they can’t stop the PDA’s.  We all want that so shuuuuuuut up!

So again I’ve trained these people.  They are 70% of my client base.  They aren’t always happy happy.  They may have been with their partner for years and a little familiarity has kicked in.  They come to us citing reasons for improvement in their health and fitness.  We always know in that in the background there’s a beauty or attractiveness to the opposite sex element. They want to reignite that spark and be the healthier version of themselves.  And what’s wrong with that? I think it’s fantastic. If we exercise we live longer that’s a fact.  So a partner will see a benefit in this. We all know how important sex is in a relationship.  Imagine holding up your own bodyweight in sex and wheezing or shaking from a lack of fitness…not good is it?

Training for love is an amazing motivator so use it as your fire.  You either want to find it or you have it and you want to keep that fire blazing.  It works. It really does. Clean up your diet, get to the gym or the park and move people!  Tell me your life doesn’t improve and if me ranting at you like this inspires you and you do find love…I want a fucking invite to the wedding!

Interview with Sheerluxe.com - A Beginner's Guide To Fitness

In a world where Instagram is filled with fitness stars and a Pilates class can seem like an essential part of most morning routines, starting out on your fitness journey can be a daunting process. So, we teamed up with fitness authority Niko Algieri to create the ultimate beginner’s guide to fitness. The frontman of Equilibrium – London’s hottest new boutique studio – Niko has trained everyone from Ellie Goulding to Nicole Scherzinger. From setting achievable goals to the kit you should actually invest in, read on for his golden rules.

First things first – should you set a goal when starting your fitness journey?

Yes and no. On the one hand, a goal can encourage commitment and create a determined mind-set; you have a reason to stay focussed, to maintain your plan and be loyal to your sessions. However, goals can also set you up for failure, frustration and give you a reason to quit. Take weight loss for instance – you can watch the scales each week after eating well and training but find no difference, leaving you frustrated and unimpressed, failing to take into account that you’re starting to grow muscle and change your body shape.

My advice is to have a long-term goal – this will mean that fitness naturally becomes a habit and a sustainable part of your life.

What’s the best way to transition into working out if it’s been a while since you hit the gym?

Don’t make it a baptism of fire – do a short workout, ideally guided by an instructor or personal trainer. Make sure it’s full of mobility exercises at the start to reactivate the muscles and the joints for strenuous exercise and finish with lots of stretching. Don’t overdo it in the first week – take your time and adjust to the new increase in movement then start to develop strength and endurance.

Any advice for figuring out what kind of workout is right for you?

They won’t say it out loud, but every personal trainer or boutique class thinks their method is the best – it’s part of the job. The truth of the matter is you should try everything – do what suits your abilities, your personality and ultimately what you’re able to sustain. If you pick something you hate or get a bad vibe about you’ll quit in week one.

Are there any classes that are good for beginners?

An ideal starting point for any fitness journey is a TRX class. With the right trainer, TRX is very simple; it can be instantly made easier or harder with a quick shift of your feet. It’s a total body workout that you can take at your own pace and teaches you to move correctly, safely and develop core strength in each movement. To me, it’s the best training tool in the world.

What about diet – how should you alter this to complement a training regime?

Forget supplements and fad diets. Instead, take out all the white carbs, sweets, chocolates and crisps, reduce your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water; you will transform in four weeks, I promise.

Is it worth splurging on a personal trainer?

Definitely, but take time to find the right one for you. They need to be able to spot your weaknesses, know how to develop them, give you confidence and make you feel empowered every session. In my opinion, for total beginners who want to train safely and learn how to move properly, a PT is worth every penny. They will help you build a decent level of strength, endurance and flexibility, then when you feel confident enough you can start classes that take your fancy.

What about kit?

Many PTs will tell you to invest in minimalist trainers (or flat shoes) that make you rely on the natural shape of your foot. My advice? Ignore them, as, for many of us, wearing these types of shoes will take months and months of getting used to. Your feet are vital in exercise so prioritise comfort and support. I rate Asics – they’ve got a high arch, strong heel and can take a battering in the long-run if budget is tight.

How quickly will you see results when it comes to training?

Immediately after a training session, you will get an endorphin release of happy hormones that will reduce stress, increase self-esteem, ward off anxiety and improve sleep. By around the two-week mark, your cardiovascular capacity will improve and that, in turn, will improve your skin and the way you feel. If you’re looking after your diet then you’ll lose fat and improve your physical appearance in around four to six weeks. Remember that nutrition is key – you can’t out-train a bad diet.

Any final motivational tips?

Be patient – change takes time. If you’ve taken the step to get to the gym, that’s something in itself. It took you this long to commit to training so be patient, keep at it every day and strive for small improvements and you’ll get there.

Rise… Fall… Rise… Fall… RISE – The Fight For Mental Health

Rise… Fall… Rise… Fall… RISE – The fight for mental health

This morning I’m inspired. A fire inside me lit because I’ve just learned that Leon McKenzie is fighting again. That man.  An unstoppable force or an immovable object.  I think it’s the latter but, I am going to swear here, fuck. The guy does not give up.  If you believe in fate and destiny Leon doesn’t bend to it. He makes his own path.

Imagine…

From 17 years of age you are signed as a professional footballer, playing in the top flight.  You are what you would consider as rich, famous, with girls chasing you everywhere (Leon happens to be one of those good looking gits too).  You go on to score 115 goals, including the winner at Old Trafford, in 400 appearances.  In 2005 you win player of the season and team league top scorer. Honestly, if this was me, I would go nuts at this point and think I was a God.  But for Leon it became darker.

Towards the end of his career Leon got injured.  He was then imprisoned for a driving offence and when he got out his career was over.  Depression hit hard and fast.  In 2009 Leon sadly tried to end his life.  Story over yes? No.

After this Leon started to recover, started to learn about mental health and how it manifests itself in life.  He started to fight back and became an ambassador for fellow sufferers.  But that wasn’t enough of a fight for Leon so he turned to his family roots of boxing.  If you’ve ever done a speck of boxing training, even in a posh London boutique with pretty lighting you know its f#*king tough.  It takes you to what we call the dark place and makes you fight your way out of exhaustion.  This was Leon’s way back. 

He flourished immediately winning eight fights, drawing one.  He then came to train with Jay and listen to my guidance. He won his ninth fight with us, destroyed the guy with power.  But then as always with Leon’s life he had to fight again just to get the next opponent.  It took 10 months to get it sorted which, as any fighter will tell you, builds up rust on the spokes.  Physically he was ready but mentally I think he built it up too much in for himself and thought he was fighting for all of us, for redemption.  He didn’t need to.  He fought for the English title and lost, admirably.  Now for a depression sufferer this is devastating.  It’s another brick wall stopping you from functioning correctly in life.

We didn’t see Leon much after the fight.  We kept in touch but he’s been rebuilding his mind. He’s been back working with mental health organisations, doing open and inspirational talks in front of thousands of suffers, something I imagine he needed to do for himself.

But now he’s back in the gym, rising again.  We’ve only just found out about the fight this morning and we couldn’t be prouder.  What a man.  He’s secured himself a fight on July 9th against Alan Higgins for the Southern Area Title.  If he wins, and he will win, he’ll be a champion once again. 

As the heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jordan always preached;

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid to not try.”

Niko

Clientspiration

I turn up to Equilibrium half way through one of Jay Brockway’s sessions with a client last Thursday and they’re locked in a conversation about an inspiring fitness Instagram personality. It caught my attention because our client was saying she was inspired by a girl who’d lost a lot of weight and became an Instagram superstar…

HUFF

Now far be it for me to tell people who or what inspires them.  That’s your choice.  However, as I was listening to her describe her so-called inspiration I couldn’t help thinking she had this backwards. Our clients inspire us.

This woman, who was inspired, is a nuclear bomb of inspiration.  She’s 37, she has three kids, one very young, a busy job, she exercises around 5 times a week and has COMPLETELY transformed her fitness ethos not to mention her physique.  The things she can now do in the gym are several thousand miles from where she started. She is simply, amazing. Our other clients that meet her are equally inspired and can’t believe the journey she has made in such a short time.

Back to her inspiration.  This girl has no job, takes a very nice picture of her arched back and spray tan, has an army of studios to flounce into for free each week along with sponsorship from leading food delivery companies and is in her early 20s.  She can wake up when she likes and train twice a day if she likes without any kids to drop off/pick-up/feed and worry about.  Her body wouldn’t have even heard of cortisol yet!  We'd all look amazing with this time on our hands. Yes she's dedicated I acknowledge that however...

...she probably went to university and got drunk for 3 years like we all did, piling on the pounds with a lack of nutritional knowledge and the kebab shop being 10 yards from her halls of residence.   In her early 20s her metabolism is like a racehorse burning calories all day and night like a steam train consuming its coal.  At that age range all she’d have had to do is tweak her diet, lay off the booze SEVEN times a week and hit the gym, she’d look amazing.  I did, it was easy at that age. 

 I suggest to you our lovely client that to gain the real inspiration you seek in life you need only look into a mirror.  YOU are the strength and the power you need.  You don’t need to gaze into the fake world of Instagram and find a physique you want.  You’re amazing.  In years to come, when the bubble bursts and the Insta stars fade away you’ll be left standing with your two 20kg Kettlebells hiked up to your chest lunging them like they were nothing, box jumping a 30inch obstacle that would have always stood in your way, throwing 20 TRX pikes in to a workout that, a few years ago when Niko wrote this blog, you struggled to do.

Remember Client A;

“The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.” Swami Sivananda

Your struggle inspires me.  Not the Instagram fluff.  They can’t even comprehend what you do each day to be as strong as you now are and REAL people can relate to that.

Niko

The Perfect Fitness Class

Teaching the perfect class

Way back when, at the old Beautcamp Pilates as it was then known, I used to teach an 11-person reformer Pilates class. God damn I was good. You had to book 3 weeks in advance to get into my class and even then there was a 15 person waiting list by the time the class came.

Why was it so good?  There is a group of elements that you can include in your classes to achieve the perfect class.  In my opinion here they are:

  • Greet with a smile and KNOW your client

It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen them once or a thousand times you treat them like they are important to you, because they are! Know their name, know their injuries, know what happened to them in the last class and if they’ve changed their trainer lately. It’s a skill and I’ve always worked that way.

  • Create ‘The Team’ element

Two ways of doing this.  You’re either in this together, teacher and class OR you go for teacher VS. class which is usually my route.  You still encourage but you and they know you’re trying to break them.

  • The Music

Always have a storming playlist.  Don’t follow suit though, play what gets you pumped not necessarily the client because it’s your energy that needs to remain high to maintain quality of teaching.  You don’t have to copy the big boys and play constant bloody house music.  Throw a curve ball in to disrupt the norm, something slow or cheesy that makes the class groan in disgust.

  • Don’t destroy them

These clients are coming to train, get a benefit from you and ultimately feel good.  You don’t have to make them puke or collapse to their knees every time.  Be smart and build it up.

  • Educate

If you’re screaming about speed and jumping spinning burpees constantly for 45mins then you’re a moron at best.  At some level the client has to improve and learn. Whether it be technique or timing make sure they walk away having become fitter but also wiser with a new skill set.

  • Flow

The reason I’m writing this blog is because today I decided to teach a TRX class with the straps at ONE length for the whole class.  So there were barely any breaks just flow from one exercise seamlessly to another.  It takes practice and a catalogue of movements in your head that can be tied in a structured sequence on the fly.  You get this part down and your class will rise to the top of whichever nightclub you’re currently teaching at.

  • Create a Finale

The end of the class is near.  This is where you bring the hammer down.  BUT, again, don’t make it unachievable.  Make it hard enough that each and every client uses the last % of their battery to the last second.  They will hate and love you for it in equal amounts

So go forth class teachers of differing experience.  Take your classes to another level.  Disrupt the norm because if you don’t… WE WILL.

Niko

Dramatically changed


So. Here I am again. Twice in a short while. That itself tells the story.
A couple of weekends ago I was at my friends 60th birthday. I have known him for 10 years. We have drunk a lot of alcohol together and (here's a real secret) eaten a lot of sugar together. He had bought himself a treadmill for his 55th birthday. He had no idea how to turn it on. Over Hummingbird velvet cake and a glass of something lovely he asked me why my approach to fitness had changed so dramatically.
That made me think. There has not been a dramatic change. Rather, I am dramatically changed. That is evidenced by the fact that I am telling two stories about fitness in a short period of time. I had no stories to tell on this subject for the first 40 years of my life.
The change however was not dramatic. It has creeped in over 8 years.
I started to think about why, being a binge human - shopping/drinking/eating/working/and the thing I cant write here - I am not a binge exerciser. I am consistent. I have been consistent for 8 years.
The answer of course is Niko and Jay. More recently Luke. It works. They care. The end.

 

Anya  

High Definition

3 weeks ago we took this picture...

As you can see compared to the average Joe, fairly muscular and athletic with some definition. Happy.

Now we were watching our food carefully for a few weeks before and that made huge difference. You can see the oblique and deltoid cuts with at least a hint of a six pack.  Fast forward 3 weeks I have to say in my case that definition has slipped somewhat.  Why? DIET! 

The Equilibrium nutrition plan works.  It's not a diet but a habitual mindset.  I slipped.  I got myself busy with work and other developments and started slipping ever so slightly back to the dark side...gluten and sugar.  

A couple of trips to the Granger and Raouls, two beautiful restaurants, and my trusty obliques and shoulder cuts were on their way down the street waving back at me smiling.

If you're looking a vanity physique that's maintainable then there is NO secret.  Keep the gluten and the sugars low or non existent, have plenty of protein and good fats and 2 litres of water a day.  

"But my diet is sooooo clean and I still put on weight"

THEN NO IT ISN'T IDIOT!  Somewhere in your immaculate diet is a snack or habit that's removing your definition in favour of a more blancmange look.

I've lied to myself plenty of times as I'm sure you're doing right now reading this.  Strip your daily intake down into carbs, proteins and fats and honestly ask yourself is it as clean as it can be?

What is the Equilibrium nutrition plan Niko? Oh right so it's...

That'll cost you....

MAKING TOAST BUT BURNING YOUR HOUSE DOWN

Making my toast but burning my house down? You just said that out loud right? Well let me explain why this has always stayed with me from day one of my career.

When I was learning to become a PT I sat at in a gym every day listening and learning. There was a trainer working there, grumpy, hard to approach and hard to understand (Irish). His name was Lee Irvine. I mention his name because he made me understand training in one simple sentence. It has stuck with me ever since. You're making your toast but burning your house down, 

4 years on I now stand in the my own studio working with lots different individuals with different goals. 

"I just want to look good"

"I want to be as strong as this girl on Instagram"

"I want to run faster at Barry's bootcamp"

I listen and then we get to work. Here is a little idea of how we do it at Equilibrium:

We treat the first session as an M.O.T. How is your quality of movement? Can they stabilise their core under pressure from weight or speed?

If you have a personal trainer thats how they should be assessing you each session, What we do hear about past trainers is;

"My trainer was lovely, he motivated me"

That's great but that will only take you so far. But did they make you understand movement? Do your boutique fitness class trainers make you understand the prescribed movement?

You don’t expect your hairdresser to mess your up your hair or your doctor to mistakenly swap your stomach for your liver?

But time and time again we see people who don’t know how to move and move with quality and purpose.

The fitness world is now functional. Functional every day moves squats, deadlifts, cleans, running , jumping etc. When getting my clients to perform these complex movements I play a game with them to make it understandable and engaging.

3 RULES OF MOVEMENT

1. How is their set up? (e.g. is their chest up? Is their back in a nice braced position?)

2. Can they keep consistency throughout the movement? (can they make all reps look identical?)

3. Can they make it look sexy? (can they keep it flowing with great control?)

If you can't keep your heels down on a squat, your back rounding,  can’t hold your core tight in a braced position for a deadlift or your scapulas (top of your back ) keep sinking when you plank then unfortunately, your functional pattern is breaking down and your body will suffer for it.

By doing all of these movements (making your toast) without actually thinking about what you should be engaging you are creating sloppy positions which have a domino effect on the body (burning your house down).  Certain muscle groups will overcompensate and do the work that other muscles should be doing leading to injury in the long run.

I like to use analogies so here's one for you. Think of yourself as a Formula 1 car. You can’t just go super fast into a corner without warming your wheels up!

Your FOUR wheels are::

1. Hamstrings, calves and quads

2. Glutes (legs)

3. Core

4. Shoulders

1. If the hamstrings are weak your lower back will have to work harder which will cause pain

2. If the glutes and quads are weak you won’t achieve power in your running stride or comfortably sit at the bottom of a squat

3. Core is the main power source to movement. Now that doesn’t mean crunches on the floor I’m talking about trunk strength your back and core tight solid positions (not falling into a rounded back)

4. Healthy, strong shoulders can hold a bar above your head with locked out arms without compromising your lower back

So to achieve strong and efficient patterns try and think about how you are training your FOUR wheels.  How are they working together to make a perfect functional movement, give you more power output and less injury?

My final question you...ARE YOU JUST GOING TO CONTINUE TO MOVE UGLY AND NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE AN ATHLETE?

Jay

 

Realisation In Rome

Name drop time!  I’m just returning from Rome training the fabulous Rita Ora.  But whilst out there I got a bit lazy and lowered the levels on one of my E9, 9 elements of fitness. 

We’ll start from the beginning.

I fly out 9:35am Tuesday morning so obviously before that all I’d done is sleep, eat and go to the airport.  Then I sat on a cramped flight writing emails I couldn’t possibly send and working out what crazy Instagram montage we could make next.  After this was a frightening taxi ride in which the driver checked her phone 80% of the time which makes me ask is she the best or worst driver ever?  Once I’d arrived at the hotel I unpacked, freshened up, walked a little bit around Rome and ate pasta.  Not good so far. 

By the time my client had arrived for her session at 7:30pm I had wasted a day not doing much physically.  The session was great (even if I do say so myself) which brought me to 9pm.  I was wiped out. No training. Sleep.

The next session on Wednesday was at 9pm so again I had no access to a gym (no excuse mind you) to train.  The point I’m making here is that in close to 48 hours I hadn’t really ‘moved’ as my body is supposed to. When did I realise this? Well 45mins before my client arrived at 9pm I hooked my trusty TRX on the door and dropped into a squat, JESUS! My hips! They were so tight it felt like someone had poured rust into them.  

In the 48 hours previous I’d not done a squat, a lunge, a split, not worked any of my natural and fundamental mobility and boy did it show. My heels lifted off the floor, my knees collapsed inwards, back rounded, embarrassing.

So I dropped onto a mat.  I dynamically stretched my hips, hamstrings, quads and glutes. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. I squatted again and boom, technically beautiful, well in my eyes anyway. I felt so much better. The session went great and it made me remember why Jay, Luke, and now Tom instil the E9 ethos at Equilibrium. It works. It makes you the natural athlete you were born to be. No aches or pains or stiffness and back problems. Just pure movement and strength. Think of each your 9 elements of fitness (see above graphic) as a petrol tank. You need to top up each element constantly to be at peak fitness or they’re going to be empty and useless.

Not sure how to get mobile and flexible?  Email us.

Niko

Where are my results?

Patience is a virtue.  A virtue I’ve never quite had a grip on.  I’m the same as most people.  If I start cleaning up my nutrition or training a little harder, I want to wake up after day one and see muscles bulging and the beginnings of a six pack.  It’s not reality but with TV on demand, social media at our fingertips and Deliveroo knocking at the door 20mins after an order why wouldn’t we feel this way? These days we can ave anything from an amazon order to a date on Tinder in hours! 

With your fitness and especially your physique ladies and gentleman, it takes time and effort.  It’s an accumulative effect over time that turns you into the walking sex machine that you’d like to be.  Session after session maintaining the intensity and the variation to hit every muscle along with all of the 9 elements of fitness that we work to here at Equilibrium.

I’m going to use myself as a quick example because I’ve got first hand reasons and memories for you.  We started Equilibrium 17 months ago and it’s been a rollercoaster of hard work, blood sweat and tears.  After 12 months of working 7 days a week and almost 14 hours a day my body was a mess. 

I’d become everything I’d advised my clients not to be.  I was stressed, lack of exercise, sleep and busy days had got to me.  I was unfit.  I’d neglected my training and just ran the studio but also using my busy life as an excuse not to train.  THERE IS NO EXCUSE.  My diet was terrible. It consisted of Nandos orders to the studio and curry or Bolognese in the evening because I was exhausted and it’s easy isn’t it? 

At the end of the summer I was lucky enough to go away for 6 days to Portugal.  It saved me.  I forgot about work for a second and focussed in on what I was eating, drinking and simplified my training to get back in the swing.  

Now that whole training thing… I stripped it back to the tool I love the most, the piece of equipment I use when new clients come in because it’s so diverse and adaptable, the TRX.  I did a TRX total body workout 5 days a week for 8 weeks.  That and the good food I was eating completely restored my fitness.  I returned to being muscular (obviously muscle memory was a factor), lean, and strong.   My stress levels plummeted and our studio and business began to flourish now that I could focus my efforts.

It’s about working on it every day.  You’ve have to trust the process.  Chip away at the workouts each day, not being afraid of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness).  The clean food is the icing on the cake because it allows you to heal faster, speed up your metabolism and keep the energy firing for the next workout. I guarantee that if you put at least 4 solid weeks of workouts the results will shock you.  After 8 weeks you’ll be carved of out stone and everything after that will just be a bonus. 

At our studio we don’t train our clients for 6-week beach blasts.  We make it habitual, a life choice, a learning curve hitting each of the 9 elements of fitness and adding one more element throughout, confidence.

But you’ll need patience…

Niko

I'll just have a couple...

So on the weekend I got together with two of my mates, the type where you know that consuming your bodyweight in alcohol is the only objective.  And maaaaan did we achieve. Numerous beers and vodkas made for a very enjoyable evening.  Now some calories were burned away by my usual deluded opinion that when I'm near a dance-floor I AM Justin Timberlake. Nobody else seemed to think so it was an uneventful evening.  So I danced for 2 hours combatting some of the alcohol intake.   But what else happened to my body?
Apart from the JT delusion alcohol basically has no health benefits whatsoever.  Here's a little image to help understand the basic process of destruction:
When you drink, the body prioritises the metabolism of what it believes is a poison to the body hence the almost immediate tipsy feeling.  That stops all the other elements being metabolised, so while the alcohol is in your system you are gaining weight  and unable to burn the fat cells already stored within your body.  That's the science but psychologically it takes it's toll.  As one of our great clients says "idol!", it makes us lazy, depressed and craving sugary, stodgy foods.  I know that after a bender I'm somehow always in the mood for a Dominoes large enough to kill a baby elephant or a curry with some serious levels of poppadoms.  CRAP basically.
How many calories are we drinking though?
Look at the above and think about your last night on the sauce,  how many slices of pizza or cake did you consume?  Adds up doesn't it?
But we're all going to drink aren't we?  Of course so let's do it in moderation and with intelligence.  The least calorific drink will be Vodka, Soda  and fresh lime.  Tasty and less fattening. Add that into your drinking programme guys...oh and get to the gym.
Niko

Strong Side

This one is for all the old PT’s like me out there and to serve as a stark warning to the young up and comers!
Now, if you’re a good PT you can verbalise a client into a movement by using useful cues for them to follow and control their own body.  However, if a client doesn’t get what they’re supposed to do then of course you demo and herein lies our blog.
I’ve been demoing movements now for 8 years and a habit has developed.  My strongest leg for kicking is my right leg, but that means the left side is best programmed for balance.  Therefore, whenever I’m showing someone a single leg squat or and single leg lunge on the TRX then it’s done with my trusty left leg. I did some basic maths (with me it’s VERY basic).  Anyway let’s say as an average my stats for clients are below:
8 clients a day x 2 demos per client x 5 days a week x 48 weeks a year x 8 friggin years
That’s 30,720 more reps on my left leg than my right in 8 years. Those are some staggering stats!
Do your maths.  Can you honestly say unequivocally that you equally spread your demos through both legs?  Well I can’t.  And it’s telling.  My right hip and hamstring are so much tighter.  When I squat my right foot turns out a little more to make allowances for this tightness.  It takes its toll.
What are your numbers guys I’d love to hear?
Niko (limpy) Algieri

The Measure Of A Man

As you all know Jay Brockway has the pleasure of training some professional boxers. Currently they are Isaac Chamberlain, Jake Ball and then there's Leon Mckenzie. And with him lies the title of this blog;
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
I think it was Plato or myself that said the above...
Leon Mckenzie. I got the measure of that man last night. I mean as per, I've seen Jay destroy him in the studio and the guy just kept coming back for more. That's how he's built. Ex professional footballer and now 38, last night Leon fought Jahmain Smyle for the the English title. He lost on points. And fairly so. He trained hard for this, changing his physique and fitness levels.  It wasn't enough but you know what? That's ok. He met a strong champion and he didn't quite beat him on the night. 
Life isn't defined by one moment. It's how you carry yourself throughout. This guy has carried more than enough for all of us so far. I watched Leon's eyes throughout the fight. The belief was there. Then it changed to realisation, that the task was going to be a struggle, and finally I saw true grit. All of his years battling depression, dealing with the loss of his sister, going to prison, raising his beautiful children. I had a good seat ringside and in his final sit down in the corner before fighting the last round he looked at me. I shouted to him; 
 "This is it Leon! This is fucking it!" 
He nodded. I think he knew he was behind on points. He knew it was KO or lose. And wow what a last round. Both fighters not willing to give in. At one point Leon looked absolutely spent, took 2 punches and STILL came back to almost win the fight.  Tears in my eyes and my voice hoarse,  no matter what the result I had been inspired, touched by a story that goes beyond the 12 rounds of a fight. What a man.  
Now. He's lost. Defeated and down. He doesn't realise that's not really the case.  It is a triumph over adversity. I'm inspired, Jay was inspired. Thousands of people suffering with depression who have watched his journey with awe will take immense strength from what he has achieved. At 38 now his journey is still only in its beginnings. He's proved he can do anything. So that's what he'll do. Anything he wants.
 "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Leon has had many times of challenge and controversy. He has the guts and the will. I'm excited for what he'll do next.  Whatever it is, Equilibrium is very proud of him.
Niko

 

Trump Fitness

Trump is the elected President of the United States.  A day none of us saw coming.  He ran a campaign devoid of fact. It was weak and full scare tactics to make the public doubt themselves and run for the fastest solution and to the person promising the world.
We in the industry have been fighting against Trump Fitness for a few years now.  I talked about this before in a previous blog called Sweat Culture Vultures.  Since the birth of HIIT training and it’s benefits the whole of my beautiful city, London, with their ClassPass memberships on their hips a like a gunslinger have been turning up to classes saying MAKE ME SWEAT AND DIE!  The harder the workout the better.
But why?
It’s because Trump Fitness turned up.  Boutique fitness concepts showed up saying that they can help you burn 1000 calories in one hour, they can give you a Kardashian behind, they can push you harder and faster than you’ve gone before using disco lights, a lack of a/c and mic’d up psychopaths taking pics of their abs whilst screaming GO FASTER BITCHES!!
They promised the world.  You will have a better life if you come and train with us.  Were there any facts behind this?  No. Only greed and obsession. Only the desire to create fear and envy in the public convincing them that they're fat and they were the only solution.  What about your core, your hips, your lower back, your mobility, your knees?  Nah fuck them just run faster, lift heavier and look sexy you lazy bitches!
Trump Fitness convinced London that faster is always better.  It isn’t.  The key word here is fitness.  There are 9 elements.  If you learn these and develop yourself slowly to become efficient in all these areas, you can be deemed as fit. Not Trump fit.
Strength
Agility
Coordination
Balance
Flexibility/mobility
Speed
Power
Muscular Endurance
Cardiovascular Capacity
Look at them.  Do you measure up in each of these elements?  Do the classes or your trainer you go to develop you in each of these?  If they don’t then you’re not fit mate.  You may be super strong, but your cardio is low, you may be able to run faster for longer but can someone out plank you? Test yourself. Then run for hills.  Jay and I and will be waiting at the top with the 9 elements in our hands.
Don’t get scared and search for the answer with Trump Fitness.  Take your time because you HAVE time.  

Rise Of The Foot Soldier

Good personal trainers are hard to find.   First of all, most of us are egotistical, close-minded, muscle bound show-offs.  So we're kind of hard to communicate with.  We know best and YOU don't.  So when myself and Jay knew we needed to find another trainer to lighten the load at Equilibrium we knew the task was an uphill one.
We met with a few trainers, all completely uninspiring and as usual with a huge opinion of themselves. One of them was even giving us tips on how to improve our business and wasn't even qualified at the bloody time. That was a staggering experience. They were not asked back. 
Another one we tried to teach our TRX method to, a method by the way I've worked on for 8 years, and even he tried to tell us how to modify it.  He lasted 4 weeks.
We needed a blank slate or someone who was willing to learn and realise that we had something special to teach.  Anyway, Jay is having his hair cut one day and his barber's mate walks in and introduces himself and says he's a PT.  Jay, who has a keen sense of things, has a chat with him and likes him.  He mentions him to me and I instantly forget because I'm too busy finding my feet with the booking system and running Equilibrium.
A few months later he mentions him again so we invite this guy Luke to the studio for a chat. I forgot again! He walks into the studio and I say "Can I help you mate?"
I liked him immediately.  Personable, presentable, open and willing to learn.  He starts his course of learning the next day.  And with the brothers it's thick and fast.  Luke had come from Fitness First, a company which prides itself on volume of personal trainers not quality. Little did they know they'd let a good one slip through.
His learning is steady.  He takes to TRX and Kettlebells especially and starts to train some of our clients.  Initially the reviews are midway thumbs up thumbs down which is expected. Same with the classes.  His nervousness with the new programme was evident in his posture and his tone of voice. I remember starting at Beautcamp Pilates and totally shitting my pants before the class. In the end I could have taught it with eyes closed (not literally, that would be a lawsuit).
Now if you come to train with Luke Buttle he is a changed man.  A trainer I would rank in the top 5% in the UK.  Skilled, knowledgable, patient, analytic and a confidence in class that allows him control 11 people on the TRX with fluidity and pace.  I mean, I'm proud of him.  To deal with my ego everyday is not easy. He is part of a 3 man team that is now dominating a saturated PT market filled with Instagram idiots and pretenders that I'd like to strangle (again, not literally, prison n all).
Come and try a free session with Luke.  Like him, you won't look back.
Niko

 

Zero To Hero

It’s always something to watch someone come through adversity and triumph.  To watch that injured athlete crawl across the line.  The struggle always makes the victory sweeter.  That’s Isaac Chamberlain’s story.  The man will not be beaten.  He’s one of those born with no quit in him.
Last week Isaac became the Southern Area Boxing Champion.  He fought a seasoned champion.  It was a brawl.  But what’s special about it is that in the second round Isaac dislocated his right shoulder.  He went back to his corner on the bell, popped it back in and carried on through a war to take the victory.
I’ve dislocated both my shoulders and I can tell you once they’re back in they’re basically unusable for a month.  Isaac had just 45 seconds to recover and then he continued to use it.  The pain must have been unbelievable.  Every punch or bump on that arm would have sent a shockwave through his body.  Immense bravery.
The Brixton born 22-year-old undertook his strength and conditioning at Equilibrium for 5 months before this fight with Jay Brockway taking him through the Dark Place in every session.  The man was fit and now stronger than any other time in his career.  A career by the way that saw Isaac fighting guys ranked a lot higher than him on 4 occasions which they expected him to lose to just fill the opponent gap.  Little did they know they’d found someone special. A warrior. In four professional fights he rocketed to 14th in the UK which took him to his title fight.
We’re going to make him even stronger, even faster, more deadly.  His story be will one of a rise from the depths of South London to the bright lights of the O2 or even Vegas.  He’ll defend his title next, then on to the rest of the world. 
Watch this space.

POV (Point Of View)

This is a blog for my colleagues, all the personal trainers out there, that are looking for tips on how to improve their service.
I’d like to think I’m good at this one aspect of training but I had a sharp reminder this morning that we can all get a little lazy, well not lazy, complacent.  What I’m preaching about is point of view (POV).  Your actual position in relation to your client.  When I’m on my game I like to swoop around the client in in a slow circle as to get the full range of POV’s in every position that they hit as they’re moving.  But like I said, you get complacent.  You get to know your client and what they can achieve so you suddenly stop swooping around them and even sit down (me this morning at 630am) and that can lead to technical mistakes.
My client Tam came in this morning.  Wednesdays we work strength.  We were doing goblet squats. We were training her squat position and depth.  Now, I know Tam’s abilities, her squat being faultless USUALLY.  Something wasn’t right this morning, the depth was off.  What I mean is that her hip crease wasn’t going below her knees.  This is vital for more muscle group engagement and development.  So, yes I could see the depth was off but because I was lazily sat down in front of her I couldn’t correctly diagnose where she could get that extra depth from.  Then I stood up.  Walked around her whilst she headed towards her 10th repetition and there it was.  She was leaning forward just a little too much. This was effectively switching off the glutes too early, putting pressure into the toes.  All I needed to say was;
“Chest up!”
And that fixed everything. (see below image)
Change your position guys.  Our clients have busy lives and sometimes their brains aren’t fully in the game which is why they need us.  Be there for them, circle them like a buzzard looking for food!
Niko 

1 year at Equilibrium

I wrote a blog over at www.nikoalgieri.com/blog called 7 years telling the story of how Jay and I came to the point of opening Equilibrium Total Balance.  It's a great story that I'm proud of but, we're a year on now guys and oh what a year it's been. 
Our clients, some who've been with me 7 years have stuck with us whilst we found our feet…and the bloody electricity! Everything we could have got wrong in opening the studio we did get wrong. But we opened and its gone from strength to strength. Bar a couple of holidays we've both worked 7 days a week for a year and our energy is still coursing through our veins. The momentum is picking up and we're even more excited now than we were before.
Our method is working. We knew it would because we're walking examples of it. We live it. Total balance. 9 elements of fitness that accumulate to make our clients' lives happier. They're some of the most capable clients in London because that's how they're trained, for any scenario in any element of fitness. But what it also does is breed confidence, a posture of strength and adaptation to face any life situation.  
Our classes, TRX Total body are creating human machines, athletes of ClassPass. They come 3 times a week and the changes are staggering. To be graphic, the girl’s bums are all anti-gravity, their stomachs are flat and toned and their legs are to die for. The guys look like they're carved out of stone. I love shouting "everyone lift into a plank" and boom. 11 people suspended in mid-air, full hollow body gymnastic planks, rigid and ready to obey any command we give them. It's beautiful. And why do they do it? The proof is in the pudding, it works.
TRX is at the core of what we do but we utilize all fitness disciplines to make the most adaptable humans out there. We have the Vertimax, the assault bike, the Skillmill, the rip trainer, kettlebells, Olympic bars and rings, slam balls, Skierg. We never settle for less and it shows in our equipment. Our clients are our family and we look after them as if they were our own. 
What next? We want more. More studios. More clients. More opportunities to make a difference in someone's life, to watch the shock in their face when they achieve something they never thought possible or to finally wake up tomorrow pain free from that old back, knee or shoulder injury.   
 

Tiny but STRONG

GuEST BLOG BY RAVINE MANN
I met Jay 3 years ago at Bootcamp Pilates, I’d just given up smoking, gained weight and felt incredibly weak and unfit.  I eUentually swallowed my fear and started PT sessions with him and haven’t looked back.  What got me about this guy is how passionate he is about teaching the functional movements and knows my strengths/weaknesses.  He changes the weaknesses into strengths and makes you think “wow I can do that”!  The poor guy has had to deal with not only my 2 slipped discs in my back but at the fact at how unfit and unsure about myself I was, so my journey with Jay has been interesting! 
The pain in my back was unbelievable; I’d get pins and needles in my legs during the day, during the night I’d have to take several painkillers in order to get a few hours of sleep.  I went to the best specialists in London and they all told me that I needed to have an urgent back operation after having years of physio.  Nothing worked – not Pilates, Yoga or any other low level activity classes.  After around 4 months of training with Jay, my pain disappeared and I finally started to get a full nights’ sleep!  Yes, I was in pain, I was sore and the most incredible DOMs you can imagine but nothing in comparison to the pain before.  Anyone that tells you lifting weights will make a woman “big” or “bulky” is crazy, I never started to train with these guys to lose weight, just to get strong – any of you that have seen me will know how tiny I am, but know not to underestimate me!
I train with Jay twice a week, sometimes more and it’s one of the things I look forward to the most.  I love listening to him breaking movements down to me, laughing and crying during those incredibly hard, horrible workouts, coming out always smiling at the end!  I’m always worked to my limit and am constantly learning from both Jay and Niko.
Niko combined with Jay is a formidable force – if you have ever come in and done a session that combines the TRX, Skierg and the barbell you will know what I’m talking about.  This place is like a family, I’ve made some great friends and they both really care about their clients. 
Training is supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to push you and leave you feeling great – the combo of these two is great, while one is pushing you to your max, the other is either winding you up or making you laugh through your workout, an amazing tag team!
I love the fact that although I look small and tiny, I’m super strong and it’s thanks to these two!
With Jay, when he tells me to do 10 squats I don’t question him, when in the middle of a rep he changes and says “actually I’ve changed my mind do 20 instead” I just do it, no point in thinking about it – it’s served me well and he’s trained me well.

A Happier Life

Guest blog by 6 year client Anya Bloom.
I will be 50 in 6 months time. 9 years ago my best friend told me I was too fat. I was 12 stone 7 lbs, a size  16 ( in jaeger) , smoking and unable to run 100 metres.
My friend booked us in to a local Pilates studio. It was laughably impossible. A couple of classes later I went to a class taken by Niko. His class was inspirational. I asked him if he would help me with some personal training and he agreed.
It has been a very slow journey. Niko and Jay have been remarkably patient. Not once have they suggested they would give up on me. We have trained in the pissing rain in the park, in testosterone stink in council gyms, off the doors of my flat, the streets of London and most recently in their gorgeous studio.
I am thrilled to say I am now fit and strong. I am not now and will never be skinny. I drink and eat. However I now make better choices and have tools that will enable me to stay fit for life.
There are very few people that make a long term difference to your life. Niko and Jay have done that for me. I am sure they are brilliant technically. That is not what I notice or understand. That is just what goes on when you are with them. What I notice, need and get is engagement , empathy, support, humour ( a lot of humour) and long term buy in. That's what they have given me in spades. Who else in London cares that much ?
I am now a person that packs a kit in a holiday bag and goes for a run when I get there. Extraordinary.
I am confident that because of them I will be fit for life and because of me I will be a bit fat. But I bet I can pike more than you.