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.

Resurrecting The Champ

On the 22nd September 2006 I retired having reigned as WBO Cruiserweight champion for 7 years.  I wasn’t defeated by an opponent to make me retire, that was never going to happen.  What defeated me was my body.  In the last round of my last sparring session before my final defence of my title I snapped the patella tendon in my left knee.  And that led to my retirement.  A shame to end such a formidable career but that’s how it was written I suppose.  I remained fit throughout my retirement but in 2013 I was filming some training techniques with Tony Bellew and snapped the patella tendon in other leg, my right.  By 2014 I’d had a hip replacement and that seemed like it for the lower half of my body.
After those those injuries a few things started to happen.  I lost strength everywhere because your legs affect your whole body.  My core weakened, my legs lost muscle mass.  I lost my mobility and flexibility. If you know the distinction between the two you’ll know that mobility means I wasn’t moving to the full scope of joint ability and the flexibility means my muscles and tendons had shortened.  My posture was effected also.  This lack of training and mobility had led to my shoulders rolling forward making me look like a caveman.  This accumulated in to a loss of confidence.  Training wise that is.  I was scared of repeating these injuries, and of new injuries that I could inflict through improper movement and age.  So I put it right…
A friend put me in touch with this up and coming fitness studio in West London a year ago call Equilibrium - Total Balance.    These guys are a different breed.  They listen, they look, and they understand a persons body and mind.  They didn’t see Johnny Nelson boxer.  They saw a strong, tall guy who was moving so badly in his training that it was unbelievable.  Jay, one of the directors, took me on and stripped me right back to basics.  Taught me how to mobilise, how to move correctly in functional patterns, how to control my core to increase power, strength and balance.  And I can’t stress enough, my life changed.
I trained with them in techniques like Olympic Lifting, TRX, Kettlebells, Skierg, SkillMill and the nightmare that is the Vertimax.  But it works. At first you’re broken. Asking why can’t I do this?  Why is it so hard?  Suddenly the next month you walk in after 4 weeks of pain and you get it.  It clicks.  You pull off a power clean correctly and a little wry smile spreads across Jay’s face.  Mission underway.  12 months down the line I never question what he makes he do.  I obey.  I know deep down I can trust these guys.  And I’ve been proven right.
Over the last year I have become what the lads at Equilibrium like to call, a terminator.  They make machines.  I’m not perfect by any stretch but I feel it.  I feel it in my bones, my muscles, my confidence.  They’ve rebuilt me, they’ve resurrected the champ.
 
JOHNNY NELSON

Three Men And A Baby

If you don't follow us on Instagram then you won't have seen our three fighters that we train. If you do follow then you'll know them well. Visually at least.  
These guys are special in their own individual ways which ultimately make them so effective in the gym and the ring. 
Let's start at the beginning. Johnny Nelson. A mountain. Someone who crawled through the metaphorical Andy Dufresne shit and came out the other side a 7 year undefeated World Champion.
When you first meet Johnny he charms you immediately. He listens, he engages, his positivity infectious. He'd give you his last tenner if he could. Behind the warmth, a warrior and an unwavering obedience in training that Jay and I have never experienced. If we told him run into a wall ten times, the trust is there, he would.
The guy has no quit in him. None. I've seen Jay unleash hell on him and he just keeps coming back for more. I honestly think if we told him do a million push ups he would camp in the studio for years until he did it, such is his training ethic and mettle. He's listened, learned and if you see him now on Ringside he looks athletic, lean and most importantly upright with great posture. He could easily fight tomorrow at his current fitness level. 
Then we come to Leon Mckenzie. This guy has already done it! He's been a premiership footballer and even knocked one in against the great Man Utd. Still, he feels he has something to prove. He's fought through depression and other difficulties but when he's training, and I'm not sure he realises this himself, it's his darkness that drives him. He has this hunger and need to stay ahead of himself all the time and that takes him to darker places in the gym and the ring that others won't go. He will go further than YOU if it kills him, but he'll beat you.
Challenging for the English title this year Leon has tripled his strength and power with us. I urge you. Watch his next fight, he'll be dangerous.  The recurring theme across all our guys is that they are humble, generous and always up for a laugh.  Leon is a great guy above all.  
And finally we come to Dillian Whyte.  Publicly, the bad guy, in truth the gentlest giant you will ever meet.  Another gentleman, Dillian is the phoenix rising from the flames.  A bigger blog is needed for this but Jay and I were there the night he lost to Anthony Joshua.  He was 65% fit back then and very nearly caused an upset.  He was injured, had surgery and is now training with us to get his conditioning back.  I say back, it's gone passed what ever it was before.  Jay has worked wonders.  
But it's Dillian and his determination that really catches the eye.  He is a perfect example of a lesson learned.  And that shows the head on his shoulders. He thought he could out brawl Joshua but he came up against an honed athlete with a huge team behind him.  He knew what he'd lacked and now he's put that right in coming to us and a new boxing coach.  He's open about his loss, it's admirable.  Let me make this clear.  On the the road back to Joshua, Dillian will run through his opponents inside 4 rounds.  He's a different beast now, but a beast nonetheless. If you see him in the studio he'll shout "Champ!" and a champion he will be.
Sometimes when you're looking for inspiration you can find it in the people you train.  Come down some time guys and watch these three men train in our baby.  I guarantee you it will make you want to jump into a session immediately and run through walls to achieve your goals.   
And finally the soppy bit.  Jay and I don't just train them, we look after them because inevitably at Equilibrium, they've become our friends.
Find them at:
@dillianwhyte
@johnnynelsonsky
@leonmckinsta

 

 

  

Breaking the internet...#CantStopTheFeeling

Ok so we didn't actually break the internet. But we felt what it was like to cause a mini storm on the damn thing! If you haven't already seen us barking about our #CantStopTheFeeling parody of Justin Timberlake's massive summer hit then you're either dead, phoneless, or just plain bored of us. 
Over the last 3 weeks Jay Brockway, Luke Buttle and I have worked tirelessly getting each of our clients to dance for 20 - 30 seconds each (easier said than done let me tell you) to Timberlake's new tune. So much fun was had each day and it seemed to bring the whole studio together in a cliched family montage experience. We loved it! When we launched it we put it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, all the channels you'd expect to get as much exposure for our little family as possible. It's done well.  We're over 6000 views on YouTube (link below).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWNghDqs4fI
I got greedy, I got passionate. I wanted maximum reward for all the work we'd put it in.  A couple of people had turned their noses up at the video. I can't accept that.  It made me more determined. So I have a mate who knows someone who is friends with Justin Timberlake so I cheekily asked if he could get this friend to retweet. AND THEY BLOODY DID!! They retweeted and then JT picked it up and replied! Here's the conversation below. It's 4am in Spain where I'm on hols but I got up to go to the bathroom (because I'm old now) and noticed that we'd broken the internet a little...ok like one circuit.  I'm bouncing around like a kid unable to play the video because I need to be quiet!
Thank you and well done to all the clients who took part, to Luke for putting up with our egos for 3 weeks, to all the people who liked and retweeted and shared and WHATEVER, just for the love!
Honestly guys, if you're feeling low or caged or anything negative.  Put this song on.  Dance and sing in a room on your own and you'll feel a million dollars.  
The small town Welsh boys continue to rise.
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Sweat Culture Vultures

A few weeks back we received an amazing review on Instagram.  Very flattering. They rated us 20/10 for our performance as trainers.  There is an however…however.  They also said the class was 6/10 sweat factor.  I checked this with other clients and ClassPass attendees and they were shocked.  It’s opinion though and I’m not here to complain about that.  What I have noticed is that there is a sweat culture, especially nowadays with ClassPass sweeping London, developing in the underlining of all fitness classes.
As a trainer of both classes and personal training I’ve noticed that about 70% of clients have developed a link between fitness and sweat.  If they don’t sweat then they haven’t worked on their fitness.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  YES getting a sweat on is great, you’re tapping in to your cardiovascular capacity element and getting rid of some toxins in the skin.  However, you’re not necessarily burning fat JUST because you’re sweating.  Have you thought that it could be because the clever little buggers at [Insert nightclub themed studio name here] have turned the God damn A/C off?  Your body temperature will rise and you will sweat!
Couple that with the treadmill and spin nutters out there and we’ve created our own little sweat culture where you the clients DEMAND that you sweat forgetting that fitness is 9 elements which we here at Equilibrium call E9 (get it? Equilibrium starts with an E and there’s 9…you get it).
You can go to a pilates class, work your core strength, flexibility and mobility and not break sweat but wow have you worked your body hard, you're raising your metabolic rate and gaining great posture.  You can attend a controlled TRX class, develop your strength, balance, muscular endurance 3 times week and look phenomenal without having to ring your t-shirt out with sweat after it finishes.
I’m not saying sweating is a bad thing, it’s a natural bodily process BUT what I am saying is calm down.  You can look amazing without trying to induce a heart attack each session.
There’s also an ownership factor.  You have to own your session guys.  We as trainers can give you the exercises and push you harder but you are the one in control of your body, you control the speed and effort level.  So if you want it, f*#king go for it and you’ll get your sweat on.
Niko

The Dark Place

If you've ever wondered in to a gym or a studio and they've set you a metcon (derived from CrossFit), which means metabolic conditioning circuit to the non cool people, then you'll know what The Dark Place is.
The Dark Place is a term my brother Jay uses whilst training his clients or his pro boxers.  He takes them there, he can't help them come back from that place, but he gives them the tools to help themselves get out of it.
I've been there a few times. It is the worst possible feeling that you can create for your body with a workout.  I'm writing this blog because I visited The Dark Place this afternoon and it compelled me to warn and also persuade you to visit.  We did a metcon involving the Assault Bike.  This piece of equipment is by far the best conditioning tool certainly for boxers and sportspersons alike.  It takes EVERYTHING away from you in 60 seconds.  I got off the bike, my heart rate sky-rocketed, I felt like death was coming for me, my legs burned, my arms wouldn't function. Frankly, if the the tunnel of light had been offered I'd have bloody crawled towards it.  But in that moment of desperation is where you find your mettle.   You have to face a moment like that to challenge your resilience.  Unfortunately, Jay and I see a lack of mettle in a lot of people that come to Equilibrium.  They don't want The Dark Place, they want the Notting Hill version of it, Luke Warm Heights.  We coach our clients not to be scared of it and the improvements we see are limitless.
I've watched Jay perfect this method of training through the years and now finally, HIS method, HIS programming is transforming the fitness of two professional boxers and one retired boxer who took a leap of faith with him.  He's young (not junior) but it's his passion that puts him leaps and bounds above most trainers.  He's put himself through the workouts so they're tried and tested methods.  
I spoke to these boxers today to get a little quote from them:
Johnny Nelson - World Champion, undefeated for 6 years
"I wish this man was around when I was an active fighter. My reign as a World Champion would have been much more dominant.  Yes, he would have been only 3 years old but you know what I mean!"
Dillian Whyte - Heavyweight boxer 
"Training with Jay has been amazing.  He delivers his point clearly and motivates like no other.  A very good trainer with no ego, just pure drive.
Leon Mckenzie - Number one contender for the English Super Middleweight Title
"He is a very talented trainer and brings out the best in me regarding all the specifics I need to get me to that higher level in my sport.  Jay takes me to a place where I want to die but of recent I come back every time and the bar is raised every time.  He is a serious dude."
These guys live in The Dark Place.  But Jay has shown them the way to go deeper and climb out if it faster. I keep blowing the trumpet on Instagram but the next time Dillian Whyte and Leon Mckenzie fight, you are going to see two very scary boxers intimidate their opponents with power, speed and most of all unrelenting endurance.  They will be terminators.
Don't be frightened to go to The Dark Place.  It's yours. Own it.  You can always come back from it stronger.
Niko

TRX - A life changing tool

I found TRX around 7 years ago when I was given it free by my father who had also been given it free by a protein company. Reluctantly I took it.  A small bag with some army green straps in it. I threw it in my boot and left it to rot.  
Back then I was still using resistance bands, boxing gloves and bodyweight exercises to train clients in parks and at home.  I hadn’t yet learned Kettlebells so my equipment was limited. At the time I was also working for a reformer pilates company trying to expand my fitness knowledge and skill set, turns out, the reformer was preparing me perfectly for the TRX.
So one day I google this so called suspension trainer and my eyes are opened, but only slightly.  I took my TRX to Hyde park in London and strapped it to a tree. This was back when they weren’t clamping down on trainers struggling to make a living.  Anyway I played around with the lengths and exercises and suddenly realised that this simple piece of equipment was going to change my life and a career.  And it did.
Applying all my new pilates and resistance training knowledge I found that the TRX usage was in fact limitless.  If you have the inclination and the knowhow you can create exercises and programmes for strength, speed, hypertrophy, flexibility, core development, the list goes on.  Like I said it’s limitless.
When you first start training on the TRX and you do a full body workout you feel like a train has run over you and your core think it’s on Mars. 10 sessions later you feel carved out of stone and ready for anything. TRX stands for Total Resistance Exercise, and the total of you is what it trains.  Every move, even if you think you’re isolating, is a compound movement.  A TRX bicep curl for example demands that you switch on your core and your legs at the same time otherwise the technique is incorrect and less effective.  
It is quite simply the most effective training tool on the market and any trainer worth his weight in gold will learn and utilise it as much as possible. Those who shun the TRX can only be described as lazy.  You can transfer from legs, to upper body, to core in mere seconds and its that intensity which gives you the best workout possible.  It is muscle building along with metabolic conditioning all wrapped into one.  I’ve personally and professionally created workouts on the TRX that have destroyed clients and myself for days after but man do we feel awesome now.  
On the flip side.  TRX is fitness for all.  I train three 60+ year olds and they have flourished because of it. The beauty of TRX is that it can be scaled back immediately by a slight change in foot position or strap length. These are their Vector and Pendulum principles which I won’t bore you with.  What it means is that it becomes an assistance tool for reduced movement leading to increased strength and mobility.
So in summary, if you want to look badass and like a ninja then TRX is you’re Batman utility belt. If you want to start in fitness but have a fear of injury or lack of strength then TRX is the arm around your shoulder helping and encouraging.
Here’s an example workout I created called TRX around the world: 
13 exercises - 10 reps on each x 3 rounds.  Don;t worry about time, just get through and survive…
10 squat
10 reverse lunge (each leg)
10 single leg squat (each leg)
10 pike
10 knee tuck
20 swings (meaning swing each side 10 times)
10 single leg lunge (each leg)
10 power Pull
10 row
10 push up
10 y-raise
10 bicep curl
10 tricep extension
Give it a try.  You wont look back.
Niko Algieri.

A Metre from Mayweather

 

A metre from Mayweather...
If you follow our Instagram or have heard of the fitness brothers Niko Algieri (me) and Jay Brockway then you'll have seen the 6ft 5inch frame of the younger brother stomping through the studio commanding perfect technique and ultimate fitness.
I was stood next to Jay at a Gala event in the Hilton Park Lane last Thursday evening as Floyd Mayweather, possibly the greatest boxer ever and one of his hero's walked a metre from Jay towards the stage and it dawned on me. I know what Jay had been through to get here and I think everyone else should know. You've all seen the super fit, extremely knowledgeable and talented article. But there's a truly special back-story that makes Jay Brockway an even better trainer than you already think he is.
Let's talk about me first. I was always physically talented, the best at everything in school, winning all athletic events, being in every team, basically a jock. I was also an academic with everything I wanted in life there to take.  I was confident, intelligent and a bit of an arrogant git. Noooooooo you say? I was. So that's Jay's older brother. Not a worry in the world and an easy life.
We come to Jay. Born from a different father and 10 years my younger. My best mate from birth but vastly different in character and attributes. As a child, he was extremely nervous and reserved, tubby until 15. And throughout all of his childhood I watched my little brother go through hell. An undiagnosed dyslexic, struggled through school to the point where it made him sick with stress and the intense fear that he'd be asked to answer the most remedial of questions that he wouldn’t possibly know the answer to. School to Jay was prison. It gave him acid reflux, and made him constantly angry, frustrated and fearful.
I imagine there's a few people who can relate to this story and that's why Jay is an inspiration in many ways. So having dragged himself through school we decided as a family that leaving at 15 was the best idea for him. Sometimes academia isn't the way for all us. So he started working for his father's construction business. Happy being outside and working with guys who would never judge him, only embrace. An honest days work is what he learned.
Alongside all this Jay had grown from a puny little boy to a 6ft5 athlete almost overnight. An accomplished semi pro footballer, strong but not yet fit. When I think of how he developed I think of Conan the barbarian on the wheel of death growing from a boy to a warrior. Anyway...
So Jay spends 4 years working on a building site toiling everyday shoveling, moving, lifting, driving and sapping his life energy. This next part is what I like to think he got from me, ambition and drive, because one night I'm in central London, drunk, and I get a call...
"Bro? "
"Nik, I'm drunk in town, sitting on a step eating a kebab. I can't do this anymore.  I can't live in this town working as a labourer."
"Right. Pack your stuff and come live with me for a few months and watch me train people. Shadow me. See if you think it's something you'd like."
So Jay moves to London and watches his older brother work across a bevvy of various clientele. He absorbs and loves it. So we decide that a career in personal training is the way forward.  As you’ve read above, this is by no means an easy decision for Jay who must face at least 3 exams to become insurable as a PT.  The struggle, the stress I watched him go through on this was reminiscent of his school days and it hurt to see. He ends up failing the exam twice purely through mental block and exam stress. 
This is where I learned the steel in my brother’s psychology.  Nowadays, he will NOT give in.  Yes he felt sick, yes he felt dumb, but he went back to that exam until he passed, the same thing with his CrossFit Level 1.  He kept on going until he made it. Staggering.
So he becomes a personal trainer and starts plying his trade at Bootcamp Pilates the same as me.  I remember walking in to watch one of his first classes and knowing right there and then this boy has got it.  Of the millions of PT’s in the world only 5%  out there are any good.  There is a frightening amount of rubbish out there at the moment masquerading as talented because they have a six-pack.  They won’t come near Equilibrium…because they know that we know.  We’ll come to them very soon.
He leaves Bootcamp in exactly the same amount of time that it took his older brother, 16 months.  There are trainers who have stayed there for close to 10 years who still rely on the regular income from it.  Jay excelled and left to advance.
He taps into his Mother’s personality, his Father’s grit, and his Brother’s ability to read people and basically becomes the most naturally talented personal trainer I’ve ever seen. It all stems from his childhood and his life.  He has HAD to work hard at everything so it comes through in his own training and his clients'.  My clients are good; Jay’s clients are truly unbreakable.
At 24 years old, Jay has his own fitness studio in Holland Park, Equilibrium.  Its rise seems to be like Jay, unstoppable.  He is now starting to attract professional boxers and former World Champions. It’s a pleasure to watch.
So you see, the roles reversed.  Jay became a hero of mine, as I’m sure I am of his.  But the point of this blog is this...
…Work hard, fight for something you love and you can get to where you want to be, physically, mentally, financially.  An obstacle is something you can move.  Jay picked his up and threw it through the wall.
Be inspired.
Niko Algieri

#instagramnuclear

What does that heading mean?  Well about 8 years ago one of our Directors, Niko Algieri got himself in to the Men's Health Top 12 Cover Model finalists.  He got his butt kicked but he got into the below condition...
niko+men's+health.jpg
Lovely lovely, well done Niko you're amazing.  However that was 8 years ago so having worked really hard to open his own studio, the physique has suffered somewhat.  Although the dorky expression still remains.  So what Niko is now going to do is go #instagramnuclear and take on the worlds instagram stars.  Here's the stages he's going to do it in:
1. Nutrition and Training - Clean eating and hard training.  Some serious discipline over the xmas period too!
2. #activewear - You can't look a like an instagram star without having some amazing clothing, in this case just some bottoms!  My friends over at www.everysecondcounts.co.uk will help me there!
3. Haircut
4. Working in a studio all day Niko has developed a beautiful Casper-like complexion.  A tan will be needed.
5.  Improve vacuous #selfie skills
Stay tuned for videos and updates...

The value of Personal Training...

I was watching my brother training a client today. He was adjusting postural position, working on mobility and then getting them to perform movements they'd never even thought imaginable. Yes I see that everyday with clients but it just hit me, PT is invaluable.  The right personal trainer can change your life. THEN I thought about new clients and the usual conversation of price reduction and discount and this blog came to me...
The value of personal training is exceptional.
A good personal trainer in West London will cost you upwards of £70, if they're any good anyway, although this isn't always guaranteed from what I've seen lately.  So let's say a PT session costs you £80.  It is literally changing your life!!  You are becoming more mobile, more flexible, stronger, faster, fitter, you'll live longer, be able to play with your kids for longer, attract the opposite/same sex more effectively.  The list of benefits, and excuse my language here, is fucking endless.  
Now, let's look at your week.  You might have a breakfast with friends that will cost you £35.  You'll buy a lunch from Planet Organic or Pret for £10.  You'll buy some pointless piece of clothing from ASOS or Matches for £200-£300, spend £100 on cosmetics, mani/pedis, firming lotions, bottles of wine, evenings out at high calorie food restaurants.  This list is endless too.  By the end of the week you've spent between £500-£1000 on crap you didn't really need without blinking at the price. Meanwhile you're hesitant to take up personal training because of the cost. It's lunacy!
The other things you've spent your money on are part of a marketing machine that has no regard for your personal, physical or mental health.  Yes we'll take your money gladly, but for that we'll take care of you, you'll become part of our family of clients, you'll flourish and rise up stronger, looking and feeling better.  
If you're feeling shit what will Pret do for you? Make you fat.  If you've had a stressful day and need a shoulder to cry on Matches will gladly take your money and post you a dress.  If you're feeling unfit and need a change go get your toes painted, that'll help!
No guys, get a personal trainer who will talk and listen to you, make you laugh and almost cry with beneficial pain, give you a slap on the back when you've achieved the unachievable and eventually make you become the person you've always hoped you could be.
We're here waiting.  And we cost a little bit.
Niko

What is fitness to Director Jay Brockway?

What is FITNESS?
At Equilibrium I train a range of clients through one-to-one private sessions as well as our TRX classes. What they all have in common is they're trying to achieve their idea of a perfect body and to "get fit".  With the rise of concept classes it seems that many people are stuck in the mindset that this can now only be achieved using a treadmill and isolation training (movements like crunches or bicep curls).  And these work to a relative extent.  But when we talk about total fitness, that's a whole different ball game.  Here’s my two pence worth.
My own definition of fitness :
“The ability to hold a stable position in any given movement” Jay Brockway 2015
Now for most of you, if your bum doesn’t look as good as you’d like and your upper body is holding a little fat, you go to the gym and get on a treadmill or grab an ab mat for crunches to fix the problem.  Yes it will do something to your body but doesn’t mean to say it's fixing your total fitness or "circuit".
Think of it like a room full of lights. If one becomes faulty, you have a problem with the whole circuit.
Whichever body part doesn’t look good, be it your bum, your legs or your arms, it’s because they’re under-active. If your glutes aren’t firing correctly do you think running will wake them up? Absolutely not.  They will continue to say no leave me alone! This leaves your circuit incomplete and broken.
Here’s where the concept of HOLD YOUR BODY STABLE IN ANY GIVEN MOVEMENT comes into play.
So try this, don’t think about how you look for a change and instead think about how well you can actually move your body. Can you keep your chest up in a squat, knees out, without rounding your back?
Can you maintain a solid midline with no movement at any point during a deadlift?
Can you hold a bar or a plate over your head with your arms locked out, maintaining a neutral spine and feel comfortable whilst doing so?
Can you maintain planks, jackknifes and pikes without feeling lower back pain?
If you can’t do all of the above it’s because you’re not strong enough to hold your body in a stable and solid position.  Concentrating on how you look will get you so far but it will catch you up faster than you can run away from it on a treadmill.
Are you reading this now saying SHIT I can’t do any of that? Why should I do it ??
Our bodies are built to move in functional patterns (Crossfit), that doesn’t mean to say you have to do Crossfit, just take the philosophy of it.  You sit down in a chair, you pick things up off the floor in everyday life - so transfer your everyday life movements into how you train. Bicep curls and crunches do not translate into everyday life movements. Their function is purely aesthetic (which is fine too if that's all you're after). 
How does that make me fit?
This is fitness to me.  Once your body is moving correctly and with stable strength then whatever a trainer/class throws at you you’ll be able to handle because your body will be ready and willing, your circuit is complete and working in unison to make you stronger, fitter and faster.  Efficient. You’re fit for life…

The class you deserve...

There are an unbelievable number of classes available to Londoners these days.  You can cycle like a psycho, ask a guy called Barry to make you run in a disco, get your core collected, have someone find your form, and now if there's one of you..you can become a rebel.
There are some amazing class set-ups and then there are some fads to you get you through the door with pretty lighting, iced towels and a DJ.  It all depends what's right for you and what gets you off the couch. But there are standards, some things you need to keep an eye out for to make sure you're getting your money's worth.
My brother and I have been PTing and teaching classes for 7 years between us and we know what needs to be delivered.  There are rules of a class that are consistent throughout any discipline whether it be a pilates class in Mayfair to a Boxing class in Notting Hill.  The studio has to adhere to these to get their class just right.  And you know what, sometimes we all miss the mark.  Here's our little guide to choosing the perfect class for you: 
The concept:  What's the gig? What is the class about and what is it delivering? Don't just turn up to up a class because some attention seeking instagram filterfumbler told you to.  More often than not they're being paid to say that so make up your own mind.  Things to think about - is the class functional, fitness orientated and going to improve my life and mindset?  Not, will I feature in Grazia if I wear my new leggings. At Equilibrium we teach TRX Classes. Utterly functional, mixing strength, speed, power, cardio and core training at its best.  We teach it because we BELIEVE in it and have spent over 12,000 hours perfecting that craft.
The Trainer:  They have to be experienced, that's key.  Experienced doesn't mean in their 50s but experienced in using the techniques they're going to be teaching to YOU.  A lot of trainers in these classes have been taught over a number of weeks and never really learn to appreciate the quality of the class because in all fairness to them, it's not their business, they're getting £20/hr so the enthusiasm drops slightly.  You can sense this as a client.  They have to be passionate, energetic and, what's key for me and Jay, completely client focused. 
Difficulty:  There's a crusty old concept in fitness called SMART. The A stands for achievable and it's totally right.  Without the right intensity it all falls down; and it applies to both sides of the spectrum.  I've watched trainers annihilate the fittest people in class so much so that self doubt creeps over them, that's not good, not good at all.  Then on the flip side when it's too easy it's a waste of time, there's been no improvement or progression so the client gets frustrated.  We've got a secret formula for this...I'm not telling you! Get to class.
The Playlist:  Now this is a tough one.  Not everyone likes everyone else's music but I love it when the trainer puts some time and effort into the playlist.  At least it will pick them up mid class, create rhythms and speed for peaks and troughs of the exercise intensity.
The Studio:  This has be be right.  Designed perfectly to allow the client to maximise their workout. We've spent good money on the flooring, the equipment and the air conditioning to make sure our clients can focus on the workout, not on if they're going to bump into a wall or knock a panel off a suspended ceiling.  Clean bathrooms and showers are fairly useful tools for client satisfaction too!!
I could go on and on about what to look out for,  but i'll leave you with one final test for the class that you're attending.  And if the studio you're currently attending mess this up, email us and we'll give you a free class...are you ready?  
Do they know your name when you walk in?
Niko Algieri - Director