Over the last 3 weeks I’ve had the fortune to be hanging out in and around Sydney and Melbourne: I know, it’s a tough gig. While here I haven’t just been working on my tan however, I’ve also been busy meeting like-minded people from the world of health and fitness. This led me last week to a meeting with a leading, progressive voice within the health, fitness and wellbeing world, Paul Taylor. Recently made Adjunct Professor of Functional Neuroscience at The University of San Francisco, Paul has developed a system called ‘Scientific Holism’. Basically put he’s trying to bring a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, encompassing physical and mental analysis to develop evidence-based fitness programs. The difference from many other fitness educators out there is his involvement of the brain and neuroscience to help develop these programs, a product of a masters-level degree in neuroscience. Realising the crucial links between variables which affect brain output, and the need to address not simply peripheral muscular and cardiovascular health, but also such issues as depression, stress, beliefs, confidence, to name but a few, his approach to health, fitness and exercise is different, stimulating and most of all fun. Trainers who go through his teaching academy are taught about this holistic approach and the need to probe further into clients lives in order to improve their health maximally. Exercises are based around functional training, much in the vein of the Gary Gray school of thought (www.grayinstitute.com), and the gym that I met him at, his ‘Body-Brain gym Acumotum in the Richmond district of Melbourne, resembled a big play-pen more than a standard gym with weights and CV kit.
His main business is the Human Performance Institute, although he’s also the founder of The Personal Training Academy Global, and the Body Brain Performance Institute. He has also developed a science-based computer program for ‘BioAge’ testing, which facilitates online functional brain testing (www.mybrainsolutions.com). The ‘BioAge’ program has led Paul to be a regular feature on the Australian version of The Biggest Loser, and this has further led to regular television appearances.
Paul was keen for me to have a workout with him, and introduced me to a new exercise regime, the ZUU Workout. Developed by fitness instructors in Queensland, this workout is quickly becoming a favourite of professional rugby league clubs in the region, and its popularity is spreading to health clubs throughout Australia.
The exercises are mostly named after animals, and aim to mimic their movements. They’re also completed with body-weight only so can’t be that hard right? Wrong! They’re performed in 30-second bursts, with between 4 and 10 completed in a row, and between 30 seconds to a minute rest between. Needless to say I found it tough going, as I’m sure the picture below with Paul testifies to!
The workout was dynamic and intense even though we only performed 4 sets of 2 minutes! Top workout. In all seriousness it was one of the hardest yet enjoyable workouts I’ve done for years, and I’m sure it’s heading our way very soon. It also gave me some great ideas for rehabilitation exercises to help progress patients that step further.
After recovering we managed to spend some time chatting and swapping research articles (GEEKS!), before heading for a few beers. With some planning our aim is to to get Paul to deliver one of his lectures for us in London during the next year so we’ll keep you posted on how that develops.