How far have we been taken from our Homo sapiens origins?
In a recent chat with Simon from Local Motion Studios he raised the point that present day humans rarely touch the ground. He has a point. We tend to roll out of bed, pop the work shoes on and ‘on with the day’…the day being spent locked into a peculiar position in the shape of an office chair that is. Which makes me think of another saying from another fitness guru…’sitting is the new smoking!’.
They might be onto something here…
Being ahead of the curve can be both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing in that you are paving the way for the future, a curse in that not everyone gets you. In an ever evolving fitness industry it is important to identify and destinguish between the needles fads and much needed trend developments. Local Motion Studios believe they are a part of the latter, I feel inclined to agree.
There is certainly a lot of change occurring in the fitness industry nowadays.
Gym floors are being cleared out of heavy bulk machinery to be replaced with free weights and functional kit. The present day goal of many fitness clubs is leaning more and more towards breaking down the rigidity of modern working life and separating man from machine…not plucking him or her straight from the work desk computer only to pop them onto another treadmill or chest press juggernaut in the gym during their free time.
Quite right too…rigidity is the enemy, movement the goal.
Therefore this current trend fits in line with creating space and encouraging us humans to move more freely as nature intended. Local Motion Studios have taken this to the next level with a series of classes on Calisthenics, Animal Flow, FloFit, Parkour, Broga…and much more. ‘The aim is to create awesome human beings who can adapt physically to complex environments at a moments notice. Isn’t this ultimately what we should be training for?!’ Asks Local Motion Studios founder Simon Stratton.
It is here where Local Motion Studios sit slightly ahead of that curve.
They are not only seeking to mobilise their clients but to also provide strength and adaptability at a moments notice as a tool for day-to-day existence. In today’s modern world how far have we been taken from our Homo sapiens origins? Should focussing inwardly on ourselves be the prime goal when considering our fitness development? Or…do the biceps on that creatine tub look too good to resist focussing your goals on?
For my experience of Local Motion I popped along to their Animal Flow class coached by Rachel Thompson.
Let me talk you through it…
First thing was to get those pesky modern age shoes off and to start getting intimate with the floor. In a low crouched squat position we started to warm and prepare our bodies for the ensuing class – with so much ground contact on all fours we paid a lot of attention to mobilising our wrists and preparing them for weight bearing. As a coach myself I’ve learnt how under-prepared the wrists of so many can be. Sitting at a desk all day lightly tapping a keyboard with limp wrists doesn’t lend itself to our evolutionary design intentions; surprise, surprise. So if you fall into this category I recommend that you start strengthening those wrists…you’re gonna need it for this class!
Animal Flow has been designed around 2 main elements – adoption of set positions, with allocated animal names, and the ‘flow’ of movement between achieving each position.
The animal names are more than just a branding tool, they enable clear instruction from the trainer to the group whilst the flow of movement creates a class with constant weight bearing through ever changing planes of movement. The end result is very energy sapping I can assure you.
Once the warm up finished it was time to learn some of the animal positions. Some clear and concise coaching points from Rachel enabled me to achieve positions I would have been unconfident with before the class.
From the starter ‘beast’ and ‘crab’ positions right up to the more complex ‘scorpion’ poses I was already challenging my joints and muscles in ways that are worlds apart from most gym routines.
Then the tricky stuff started…
Having become familiar with a handful of animal positions it was time to link each one up in a sequence of continuous flowing movement…hence the name ‘Animal Flow’.
After 5 minutes I had moved confidently from steady warm up to sweaty brow and looking around me I wasn’t the only one feeling the heat.
After 10 minutes of constant movement a ricochet of groans developed in the roam followed by an outpouring of relief at the first water break.
The class continued like this for its duration – ever more complex patterns of movement from ‘beast’ to ‘crab’, from ‘crab’ to ‘scorpion’, from ‘scorpion’ to ‘travelling ape’ and much more. With the end of each sequence I noticed how a huge sense of satisfaction washed away any muscle burn and kept me enthused and excited about what I was achieving. These flow-patterns challenge the mind as well as the body and I found myself emerging from deep concentration each time we finished a segment of the session.
Due to the enjoyment of the unique movements involved and focus on all the learning that takes place in this class the hour flies by … then it hits you. This class is extremely energy sapping. Surprisingly so. I’ve now done a few Animal Flow classes and each one has left me completely wiped out – which is great!!!
*To keep some consistency within my series of reviews on London’s top group fitness venues I have devised a rating system that I will apply to every experience I have – hopefully this will help you to decide what venues would best suit you. I love being a ‘fitness tourist’ myself and would encourage you to have a little exercise roaming in your life too…
1: Training Environment/Atmosphere: A world away from strobe lights and heavy bass-lines. This is a smart environment that lends itself to the development and practicing of ones individual skills by ‘exploring the awesome potential of the human body through movement’. With few places like this in existence (ahead of that curve remember…) you get the feeling that this is a real hub for gifted coaches and practitioners of natural human movement. PLUS…LM Studios is perched right above Planet Organic – what better environment for some pre training goodness or post training recovery!?
2: Coaching Style: A relaxed and knowledgeable style that allows you to feel at ease enough to try some new moves whilst gaining insight from people who clearly live and breathe ‘natural movement’.
3: Equipment: There is a Personal Training suite adjacent to the group fitness studio with all the kit one might need including a bespoke training frame. BUT this is about group fitness…for these classes all the equipment you need is YOU…which means the equipment is pretty frickin awesome right?!
4: Bedside Manner/Customer Service: Ok ok…so I know this is another venue where I happen to be besties with the head honcho, Simon Stratton. So let me be honest…its hugs on arrival…not sure if this is company policy but I lap it up every time.
5: My ‘Knack Factor’ – how knackering was it? It’s hard to explain this one…as mentioned before, every Animal Flow session I do completely drains me. Its an hour of constant weight bearing in every position imaginable! Sure it’s not aerobically punishing like some group workouts, but this one WILL get ya. Mark my words. A knack factor of 8/10 with an aftermath that should be enjoyed firstly in the Planet Organic café downstairs re-energising over a super greens juice followed by your sofa (recommended).
In summary – a unique place to up-skill your unique human abilities. If you want to experience a new dimension to the fitness industry and improve the way you move in the process then this is for you. A sneaky peak at the future of gyms perhaps?!