It’s with some caution that I embark on this 10 week course with Jasyn. The background is that I’m a keen runner, 50+ who is gradually getting slower and picking up a few injuries along the way. I need to get some treatment for a calf injury that’s stopping me from running and to kickstart my enthusiasm and see whether I can lose some extra pounds around the waist and shave a few minutes from my 10k time. Can it be done? Is Jasyn the man?
So I arrive for my first session. We start by completing a health form and asking about any conditions, allergies and illnesses. It’s more or less a clean bill of health here, so we move quickly on to goal setting. What do I want to achieve? This is very important and Jasyn focuses on SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Based). My goals couldn’t be judged to be lacking ambition, but are they achievable? Jasyn seems to think so, in fact he thinks we could probably exceed them.
The first few sessions will all be about regeneration. I have some deep rooted injury in my right calf which has been stopping me from running anything more than 3-4 k. It also means I’m performing way below my best, aggravating the injury and almost certain to make matters a lot worse.
So we start by assessing my mobility and determining how far I can stretch and rotate certain muscles. My hamstrings are super tight, my balance is dreadful and even basic squats without weights cause lower back pain. This is a far cry from my early thirties when I could comfortably squat with 140-160kgs. What has happened? It’s quite disturbing how quickly we can lose strength, mobility and fitness, especially if you have a desk-based job like me.
Jasyn notes everything down and over the coming weeks we will monitor and measure improvements.
The final part of the first session is a sports massage that focuses on my calves. Jasyn is careful to check my pain threshold which, being a man, isn’t very high! The massage itself lasts for about 20 minutes and stays just the right side of painful. It feels like it’s working though as I immediately feel some benefits in terms of the tightness loosening off. The next few hours and following morning confirm that, when even the most basic movements somehow feel easier and more natural.
The second and third sessions last a good hour and a half each and are a huge amount of fun. Jasyn is well organised and arrives at every session well ahead of me, complete with kit bag and a full array of equipment. Although the first couple of sessions take place in Jasyn’s home studio, the next session takes place at the Carrs country park, a mile or so from Jasyn’s base. This proves to be an excellent choice: not only is it good to be outdoors, but we can make use of the terrain, tennis courts, and outdoor exercise equipment that is there for public use.
The programmes that Jasyn puts together are very imaginative and well-considered. Each session starts with a thorough warm up of limbs to mobilise the body before progressing to the cardiovascular work to get the heart rate up. Jasyn explains there are two parts to the warm up which takes about 15-20 minutes. Following this, we are ready to do some light jogging and strength movements, which he mixes in.
As I am trying to improve balance and mobility as well as strength and fitness, we start several sessions using the perimeter of the tennis courts. Each ‘lap’ of the court involves balance and speed movements.
I had never used kettle bells in any exercise routine before but you soon get into the swing of things (literally). Swinging the kettle bells as you walk or rotate them around your body increases the heart rate and builds muscle and tone in your arms and shoulders. Jasyn explains this is for core strength and working ligaments and tendons, which is the base for future work. After just a few weeks of introducing kettle bells into the routine I can see a positive effect. We start with 6kg bells, but by the end of our ten week session, I’m using 12kg bells!
Cats & Camels
Jasyn’s programmes use a wide variety of movements from CPD courses and qualifications he’s taken over the years, with highly memorable, fun names. Over the ten weeks I am introduced to Cats and Camels, Dead Bugs, Bird/Dog, Clams and more. As these names suggest, and as the photos below depict, the moves are fun, memorable and you use your arms, legs and core to form positions that improve ﬂexibility, movement and strength.
We also include many more familiar movements, such as squats, lunges, hip circles and planks. I find it intriguing how I have better movement and ﬂexibility on one side of my body than the other. We also do muscle release work using tennis balls, and leg muscle massages using foam rollers. It’s quite incredible just how much you can do with basic equipment and expert guidance.
Jasyn is meticulous about technique. He makes sure every movement is spot on and the exercises are put together in a logical order. The plan he creates for me is totally unique. A lot of planning goes into every session and an individual plan is provided for me to follow once the course ends.
Jasyn takes his work very seriously, but with fun built in! Jasyn expects commitment to the plan and makes it very clear that the onus is on me, as much as him, to ensure the course is a success and that I derive benefit from it. Jasyn puts his heart and soul into his business and this is very clear. You’re expected to do your homework – learn the moves and come well prepared for each session.
Given the wide variety of exercises that Jasyn teaches you, it’s very important to make notes or draw simple diagrams as you go along. But don’t worry if you forget how to do something, Jasyn is very patient and you can always do a paid ‘refresher’ course down the line if you need to.
So after 10 weeks what did I get out of it? Well, to start with, I have much improved balance and confidence, with increased strength and movement. My running injury is now gone and I’m able to run again without pain. Getting into a routine is also important as I think we all benefit from consistency as it mentally prepares you for regular, frequent exercise.
I now warm up more thoroughly and introduce stretching into my daily routine. I have also joined a gym to supplement my fitness sessions with Jasyn and swim a couple of times a week. I’ve lost a couple of inches from my waist and about 8 pounds of unwanted weight.
But this is just the start of a lifestyle journey. My aim is to stay fitter, stronger and healthier as I age, and a personal training programme with Jasyn was the perfect way to reboot my body and mind and get me on the right track.
Contact Jasyn for more information on getting fit with a personalised training programme.
By Phil Holt (Jasyn’s client)