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Wellness Focus: Fitness tips from our residents

Most of us are probably familiar with the annual January gym influx and barrage of social media fitness posts at this time. Then, come February and beyond, you notice the queues for the stair-master and gym showers begin to thin once more and your running shoes start to gather dust.

In light of this, we were left thinking, is there a better way to incorporate our fitness goals into our everyday lives for a more sustainable approach to exercise?

Who better to ask than our own residents providing a variety of fitness offerings with different objectives in mind.

Barber's Gym at Hackney Downs Studios

(Barber's Gym, Hackney Downs Studios)

Meet the residents -

Rob Araujo, ‘Rob PT’: Rob’s aim is to motivate his clients to take control of their health & fitness and guide them to more capable bodies in safe, fun and happy sessions.

Lenny, ‘The Body School’: Every BODY deserves to move and feel good doing it. Our mission is to provide accessible, affordable and highly effective training systems to allow anyone to master their movement.

Darren Barber, ‘Barber’s Gym’: We train to Explore, Move & Restore our bodies and mind in order to get the most from our experiences in life whether you are an athlete, enthusiast or newbie to exercise.

What are your top tips for keeping up with our fitness goals beyond January?

Rob: The best thing to do is break down a long term goal into small, achievable goals, with a time they are to be achieved by. We rarely appreciate the slow progress we make and become frustrated, then give up. If you give yourself bite-size, short term goals, you can see the finish line and get a gradual "snowball effect" towards your long-term goal!

Darren: Don’t bite off more than you can chew, keep things achievable and fun, slowly build on that. The reward of doing what you set out to do is going to keep you driving for more and longer than if you keep failing difficult to reach, unsustainable objectives.

Lenny: Getting fit or healthy is about getting organised. We do not rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the systems we work by.

Of course motivation must come first, but I always encourage people to utilise that motivation to create a system that works when the motivation has left the building. Because it will happen at various points in the journey. Simple things like putting when you're going to train into your diary, it's much more likely to happen if you have set time aside to do it. If you're trying to dial in your nutrition, then think about batch cooking.

The Body School

(The Body School)

Have you got any advice for some daily exercises we can incorporate into our home routines/when we’re pushed for time?

Darren: I’d say looking at the bigger picture and seeing where you can get in the extra work whilst doing your day-to-day. Standing more, walking further and being generally more active all day. Throw press ups or squats in every hour, they all add up.

Rob: I am constantly advocating for small, daily routines of mobility drills, based around joint care. Simply put, we don't use our joints anywhere near their capable range and then lose that range.

Regular movement of your spine, hips and shoulders is a good place to start. I would also advise more walking. Walking is hugely underrated and under-utilised.

Lenny: We use something called a Daily Practice.In the same way we have to brush our teeth every day to maintain their health and function, the same is true for our joints and connective tissues.

We use breathing techniques and something called Controlled Articular Rotations (or CARs) to help maintain the health and function of all the major areas in the body. We actually deliver this live on our Instagram every Tuesday morning at 07:30am. If people aren't on the grams or that's a tad early for them, they can also give this free 20 minute routine a go: here

Can you recommend any social media accounts (aside from your own) for keeping us motivated this year?

Lenny: Here's a couple of the people we really like:
James Clear - Author of Atomic Habits, our go to book for helping refine that habit building process.
David Goggins - Former Navy Seal, turned Ultra Marathon Runner/motivational speaker. Highly recommend the audio version of his book Can't Hurt Me for some fire under your butt.

Darren: @wemove.world are good friends of the gym and myself and they always put out interesting podcasts and content.
@theandrew.tracey also dish's out great no BS fitness content.
@_nonprophet_ are thought provoking and also friends of the gym across the pond. I’ve followed Mark Twight since long before social media!

Rob: For the most part, social media is a minefield of fitness advice, with gadgets and fads being sold left, right and centre. A good friend of mine is doing wonderful things for women's access to fitness, weight lifting, swimming and Muay Thai. Plus she's better than me at Instagram! Check Nez out @nez__healthhub.

Rob PT

(Rob PT)

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?

Rob: Professionally - it's going to be a big year for me. My studio will be a year old and I am fully booked and very excited to be helping so many wonderful people, with a great variety of goals. Personally - one of my best friends is getting married in the US, which I am very much looking forward to!

Lenny: On a business front, it's taking the next natural step and scaling what we do further. The team is growing this year and I'm excited for the energy and drive they will bring to the brand.

On a personal note, it's World Cup year. After a successful Euros last year, I'm hopeful England can take that momentum onward to finally grab some silverware. Perhaps that's wishful thinking. They do say it's the hope that kills you! Also, I'm looking forward to more family time with less restrictions, a nice long holiday which I didn't get last year and hopefully more sunshine in the UK this year (likely more wishful thinking!).

Darren: During the pandemic I set up a new company @theoutlierprogramme focused on training online, hosting retreats in France and Portugal and remote fitness programming. This new project was set up to complement the gym in Hackney and offer a greater potential for getting out of the city and into the great outdoors. Also growing the climbing side of what we offer at the gym. We have a weekly Boulder Club meet every Friday from 18:00, so growing all of this and building on the community at Barber’s Gym. Book here.

barber's gym

(Barber's Gym)

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