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Jason Anderson Interview

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Jason_Anderson

This is an interview that I have been looking forward to for some time, Jason has been an inspiration to me for a long time.  As a Premier student I would often come across his work and found his Resisted Movement Training and Movement Based Flexibility systems to change my view on training totally, and most importantly has helped me to get my clients better results.  Here he is Jason Anderson

Tom Godwin: May I first of all thank you for giving up time in your busy day to take part in this interview.

TG:  Let’s start from the beginning, what is your background in the wellbeing industry?

JA: I started training at around 13 years of age spurred on by the bodybuilding classic “Pumping Iron”. I found it really hard to get the results I was looking for being a skinny little runt, so I started to look at how to maximise my training. This led me onto experimenting with every imaginable training method and delving into the world of nutrition.

I then started to ‘work’ part-time at a friend’s gym writing programs for his small membership, whilst also getting interested in competing Naturally.

Fate played its part as I was made redundant from my job as an artist, which led me onto to pursuing a career in the health & well-being industry.

After working my way up the Leisure management route and becoming increasingly more involved with paperwork and less with the practical element of the job, I finally decided to become a Personal Trainer.

This led me on to undertaking the Premier Diploma in Personal Training, as I had done a few of their qualifications already.

After going through the course I was offered a job as Massage therapist lecturer, which I declined as I wanted to test the Personal training water.

After a year or so of trying to make a go of it in sunny Swindon, the job of fitness lecturer came up at the Premier HQ, which I eagerly took!

TG:  You had a long involvement with Premier Training, could you tell us a little about your job role as course director?

JA: A short while after starting at Premier the role of Fitness Course Director came up as the lovely Bev Williams became Company Director. I suppose I was in the right place at the right time as I had a lot of experience with weights and was working at the HQ in Trowbridge.

Being a new manager I wanted to make my mark and worked very closely with my good friend Julian Berriman (Curriculum Director) to rewrite the course based upon my new perspective.

The role also involved observing and managing the other fitness lecturers around the country. This proved to be quite challenging for me as I wanted to see a team of ‘mini-me’s!

This in hindsight was completely futile as everyone is an individual and even though the course content is the same, the delivery will be based upon the lecturer’s perspective. Looking back now I would probably change how I approached this role.. but thats life I suppose..?!

After a while under the insightful leadership of Colin Deans, Premier decided to embark on a new era of CD rom based education. This led me onto the role of Product Development, again with Julian.

This proved to be a lot harder than we had first expected! However, it enabled me to work with some of the leading figures in the industry as part of our involvement with PT on the Net. It also exposed me (in the best possible sense) around the UK and even onto an international stage, visiting the US and South Africa.

This meant that I had to really pick up my game, as I was now competing at a much higher level, which resulted in my knowledge and understanding following suit.

TG:  Many people remember you from you heavy involvement with the development of the Masters Diploma (RMT and MBF), can you tell us a little about how this course came about and the impact you feel it has had in the market?

JA: I consider producing the RMT and MBF as one of my defining processes. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Working it through with Julian from conception to completion taught me a lot about myself and increased my knowledge exponentially.

Our remit was to produce a product that considered postural dysfunction, whilst at the same time, encouraged PT’s to utilise a safe, varied and progressive resistance training program.

Chek and NASM were the big (distance learning CPD) players at the time. However, people found NASM to be over-complicated and confusing and Chek to be a little restrictive with regards to program design.

I have a very systematic way of thinking – almost flow chart-like! This allowed me to think on a progressive level and apply this to exercise.

I liked the idea of movement patterns, introduced by Chek. So I decided to take this a step further by creating a periodisation pyramid for each of these. The WEB program design tool was a natural progression of this and a result of sticking all of the pyramids together!

I feel that as a product it has given PT’s a greater toolbox of exercises to keep themselves and their clients stimulated in the gym. By going through the process, it has hopefully given them a greater understanding of how the body moves.  I wanted to ‘open the door’ to the realisation that you are only bound by your imagination – think of a movement… and then add a weight to it!

TG:  Why do you think it is so important that personal trainers keep educating themselves, and constantly pushing their personal boundaries?

JA: In my early days of PT, I got very set in my program design ways. I had my favourite exercises and found that I was sticking with them.

This all changed at Premier as I was constantly being forced to work outside of my comfort zone, working alongside other practitioners like Osteopaths and physio’s, and being subjected to new and exciting information. This constantly challenged my beliefs, often uncomfortably so.

This can be quite scary at times and you can feel yourself resisting this process. But once you accept the idea that you don’t know everything you can really start to enjoy the understanding and the comfort in yourself that this brings.

We will never know everything about the body. If you think computers are complicated, they are nothing in comparison to what we have to work with. We often take for granted how amazing the body is!!?

Be intuitive with your education. Look inside yourself and identify your areas of weakness. What direction do you see yourself going? What are you attracted to and drawn towards? There is more than one way to skin a cat, which is why there are so many different professionals practicing… and I do mean practicing!!

TG:  You have set up a very successful personal training practice (GIM-UK) in Twickenham, what do you think sets you aside from the run of the mill personal training company?

JA: It’s funny Tom, because as we are into the summer, and considering the economic climate, I was expecting my sessions to drop off so I could focus on other avenues… but in fact I am the busiest I have ever been with Personal Training!

I put this down to the way my product has evolved and the clients I now attract. If as a PT you are only there to motivate and improve fitness, this will inevitably drop off in historically quiet times. But if you are in the ‘pain’ business clients see your product as less of a luxury and more of a necessity!

What I deliver in my sessions and presentations is completely different to what I used to. This is not to say that I was wrong before, as that stuff works, it’s just that you have to go where the application of your education and experience takes you.

I have never been very good at being a fitness disciple and following a single train of thought. I like to consider all of the options; working with a variety of practitioners allowed me to pinch the best bits for myself. I have always been a bit of a magpie when it comes to techniques or information!

With this varied approach I feel that I have a far better chance of success as I can work on many more levels with my clients, which allows my training to become more adaptable. Suddenly it becomes whatever the client needs and not just what I know. I’m sure I learn something new about exercise pretty much every session!

TG:  You were involved with the natural bodybuilding scene, would you tell us a little about what natural bodybuilding is.

JA: Well for a start, I always hated being described as a bodybuilder. As people always expected me to be big!

I owe a lot to my natural BB days. Ironically, when I present on functional exercise and posture, it still gives me a certain amount of credibility, as people listen more to a person who is in shape! Never underestimate the power of packaging!!!

I also owe a lot of my discipline (eating, training etc.) to BB. It’s pretty much set in stone now that I prepare all of my food and hit the gym on a strict schedule.

Bodybuilding is training, eating and sleeping hard! It is very addictive and takes over your life. You can always be just that little bit bigger… or that little bit leaner! You start to look at food differently. It is no longer about taste and more about how much protein, carbs and fats you’ve got on your plate.

Natural BB is hard work as you never know how much people have put in to get up there on stage. Some people work their arses off and can lose all of their muscle in pre-contest diet and others can rock up with their posing pouch in their pockets and look amazing!

Natural BB is becoming more popular as people (as I did) see training as enhancing your health and not destroying it!

I competed in the ANB (Association of Natural Bodybuilders) taking the under 78kg Mr Wales title… and qualifying and competing at the British finals twice.

TG:  What would you say is the most important attribute that a personal trainer must possess?

JA: Consistency! Which sounds simple but you would be surprised how many trainers fall down at this first hurdle of business.

A lot of guys who are discontent with their current careers come into the fitness industry thinking it’s going to be easy, a bit like being at school without the teachers. Thinking they can work when you want and keep fit whilst earning a fortune!

The reality is that you won’t be training celebrities or elite athletes you will be training people with stressful lifestyles and musculo-skeletal issues.

Clients are paying a lot of money to be trained by you, give them the courtesy of taking it seriously by turning up on time, looking smart and making sure there is an intention behind every exercise!

It’s not about being great for a short space of time… it’s about being good all of the time!

TG:  What would you say has been the high point of your career so far?

JA: The high point of my career is going happen in October 2009, when I open my new ‘movement3’ studio (www.movement3.co.uk).

This will be a culmination of 2 years of pure grit and determination – you wouldn’t believe how hard it has been to make this happen. I am so lucky to have a great (and very patient) business partner.

Movement3 will truly reflect my training ethos. I will only be taking on PT’s who are serious about training people and who want to be develop their knowledge and skills beyond the normal parameters of personal training.

TG:  What would you say is the best part of your job?

JA: The best part of my job is the variety! One day I may be doing sessions in my studio, the next I’m off on a little adventure to another part of the country to deliver a workshop. I may even find myself at the airport off to another race with my racing team (www.strakkaracing.com).

Having a few strings to my bow gives me the variety I need to keep me stimulated. I have a very short attention span!

TG:  What does your average day look like?

JA: My day usually revolves around food breaks… never being able to go longer than 3 to 4 hours without it!

So after breakfast, I usually start the day with 2 to 3 sessions. I never start before 8am… I decided at the start of my career never to get involved with the stupid o’clock market.

I will then answer emails and possibly do a bit of admin, magazine writing or workshop development.

At the moment, with the studio pending I normally have to attend a meeting either with Architects or builders to ensure the project is going to plan.

Training is a big part of my day… and at the start of the week I block out 5 sessions, usually in quiet times, to accommodate this. It’s so easy to neglect yourself.

My evening sessions start at around 4 to 5pm and finish at the latest 9pm.

I then go home for some dinner, finish off any emails and plan the following day.

Its hard work, but I am the type of person that needs to keep busy.

TG:  So what does the future hold for you?

JA: My future focus is on developing the movement3 brand where the studio will be at the centre. We have developed an online exercise product (www.m3pt.com) and we are in the process of obtaining a CPD license so I can develop my series of educational workshops.

TG:  Thanks for giving up some of you time to share with us, it has been awesome!

JA: I have actually really enjoyed it Tom! I find myself being all reminiscent!?

To find out more about Jason and his range of servies have a look at his websites http://www.m3pt.com/ and http://www.gim-uk.com