Shit We’ve Learned This Week – Animal Flow

This past weekend Zoe & I attended the level one Animal Flow course, and Wow! What an eye opener that was.

Day one was completely awful, but in the best possible way. We were immediately put into awkward positions and made to move. It was much more difficult than I imagined when we signed up for it.

So why did we decide to attend? Well, for two reasons. Before I somehow convinced Zoe to go on a date with me a few weeks after she attended one of my courses, and after a four day date and some time chatting from opposite ends of the world, and her quitting her jobs, selling her car, and traveling with me, she had wanted to do Animal Flow. So because I got in the way of her being able to do this back then, I thought we would do it a year and a half later.

But the main reason we wanted to attend it is to add another tool for our clients. We have many tools already in relation to strength, conditioning, flexibility, nutrition, supplementation, and stretching, but we also wanted a fun mobility and movement tool to offer.

You see, we firmly believe that exercise, health, and fitness should be fun. We train a lot of coaches, physique athletes, BJJ athletes, and powerlifters, but we also train a lot of regular people as well. You know, the people that simply don’t give a crap about being dick skin shredded, or being an elite athlete in a particular field. They just don’t want to be fat.

We train a lot of regular folk that don’t give a crap about squatting 200kg, they just want to move better without pain so they can get on the ground and play with their kids without worrying about how they’re going to get back up.

And we feel that Animal Flow is an incredible tool for this, that is fun, challenging, and effective, and will bring a lot of joy to our clients. And joy in training is incredibly important to us. If you hate training, if you hate your diet, you aren’t going to get success.

I’ve already started testing it on some of my physique athletes and they love it.

So, here are some takeaway points from the weekend.

1. People have very poor hand, wrist, forearm, and shoulder flexibility. One common issue we see with our clients is chronic wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. It just so happens that it’s very common for CTS to start in the forearm, from a muscle called the pronators teres, which turns the palms to the floor. We recommend ART and soft tissue treatment for this issue, and also regular stretching of the forearm flexors and pronators. Some of the movements in Animal Flow are incredible for stretching this area, especially the backwards-traveling crab.

2. Animal Flow will completely destroy your abs. My abs were so sore after day one that I was scared to poop. Literally. And that’s sad because I poop about 15 times a day. Getting into some of the postures like the beast reach fired my core up like nothing I’ve ever felt.

3. You get better at the movements very quickly. The course was extremely heavy in practical teaching. There was very little theory other than explanations on how to do the movements and how to synch flows. The first day we were all pretty awful (except for some of the skinny people in the class…I’ve never wanted to be small so bad in my life), but by the end of day two I was actually getting fairly decent.

4. Your hips will start opening almost immediately. My hips were extremely achy after day two. You can really feel your hips opening as you practice the scorpion reach and switch. At first we could barely get our hips open. Zoe was laughing hysterically at me. I had no clue why because in the positions how you THINK you look is probably nothing like how you ACTUALLY look. After seeing a video of myself I realized my leg was nowhere near as high as I thought, and it’s probably going to take some time to get there lol

5. This stuff is seriously fun, and can be done almost anywhere. If you have enough space to sit on the floor, you have enough space for some animal flow. It’s often that we don’t have access to a proper training facility, and when we do, like in London, getting there and training can be a three or four hour ordeal with the travel. So blending this in with Gymnastic Bodies work will be perfect. We will also be writing some of this programming into our gym training, even if we get some odd looks when executing it.

6. We were very impressed with the instructor, Richard Scrivener, and with the attitude of the Animal Flow culture. Richard made it quite clear that their network was open to everyone and that only respect and positivity were allowed. Very refreshing to hear in an industry with egos and attitudes the size of the moon. He was also really good with on the spot questions and adjustments.

7. Zoe’s main takeaways were that body weight exercises, and body weight movements are HIGHLY underrated. People limit themselves to such restricted and structured movements – in every day life and in the gym – that it’s nice to develop strength, stability, control, and mobility, outside of the standard lunge, squat, deadlift, and bench. It feels like much more of a ‘base’ to be able to ‘master your own vessel’ as Richard explained. Lastly, it is very good at showcasing your weaknesses and imbalances. We walked away knowing what we needed to work on to be able to move without restrictions, and to be able to be strong, stable, and controlled in various positions. We have no doubt that improving our ability in Animal Flow will transfer over to the gym and every day life. And yes, we are still all for weight training! We just like to utilize the benefits of a variety of different training methods so we don’t neglect areas of health and fitness.

Zoe and I are very happy that we attended this course and in our opinion it’s great value and great ROI.

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