Jack Wills: You’ve spoken at TED and written a method on ‘corrective fitness’. What is it?
Roger Frampton: Everything you can do in the gym, you can do at home. All you need is your own body so that means no equipment – that’s the most unique thing about it. I refer to it as ‘reverse engineering gymnastics’. I didn’t grow up as a gymnast but got into it when I was older, learning the skills but not having that childhood foundation – I needed to tweak it slightly for adults. I have created a guide and formula for them to learn and it’s all about getting back the flexibility as you had as a child. You create your own workout. Within the book there are 10 different sections such as Strength and Flexibility, because not everyone can or needs to follow the same strategy. Some people can sit cross-legged. Some people can touch their toes. Everyone has different tightness in different areas, so you work on the bits that are missing. Then you base your progress on the sensations within your body, bringing the mindfulness part into it. Listening to your body means that you start to become aware of it through training and you realise what you need to work on.
JW: Do you think it’s too late to turn it around for summer?
RF: That is very short term – and a concept pedaled by HIIT fitness instructors and gyms. Headlines like ‘6 weeks to get ripped’ are a great selling point that works for brands. However, my book is about long term goals – what will you be like aged 40, 50 and 60? That’s what I work towards and how I think people should train. I don’t want to be sat on a priority seat on a bus. It’s about working to not become disabled when you’re older rather than just to get a six pack for your next holiday.
JW: How much of your approach is diet based?
RF: Another unique selling point of my approach – and why many publishers didn’t like it – was because there is no nutritional advice whatsoever. It’s not that it is not important – it just deserves its own book! The two subjects are often grouped together but they are separate disciplines; for example, eating spinach isn’t going to allow you to touch your toes. What you eat has nothing to do with that.
JW: What about you? Is there a diet you follow?
RF: No. I try to stay out of it. I don’t diet because I don’t believe in training the weight off. Training is about how you move your body not what your body looks like. It’s a different concept. If you’re focused on looks then get a PT and go to the gym. Dieting creates the idea you don’t look great and want to change how you look. Whereas when you are aware of your body you appreciate it more and realise you can shift it by training how you move.
JW: So in the spirit of a holistic approach to life, where are you heading this summer? Any festivals? Holiday plans?
RF: I am running some retreats with a company called Retreat East which is a lovely little retreat on the Suffolk boarder – the farmhouses have been converted into little apartments. I will be running 3 day, 4 day and 10 day workshops there.
JW: How did you get interested in that?
RF: I was introduced to the owner Dominic through a friend. He actually talked me out of setting up my own because he pointed out that all you end up doing is being a manager and I didn’t want to do that. What I love is coaching. So he said ‘let’s make it work … somewhere you can still coach without looking into things like sorting electricity supplies and paying bills’. What I love to do is coach and that is what I am going to continue doing without having the extra pressure of running my own business as well.
JW: If you had to choose two items you couldn’t live without this summer, one fitness-related & one non-fitness, what would they be?
RF: Air! And sun!
JW: No pieces of equipment – bands, ropes?
RF: No. The ability to feel goes above any piece of equipment. That chair at the front of your room might be the best thing for you – move your body around that rather than buying loads of crap on Amazon. YOUR body is the best piece of machinery you can ever have. It’s the most amazing thing that has ever walked this planet – USE IT OR LOSE IT.
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