Could you tell us a bit about your background and how the brand came about?
The brand name – A Body Forever (ABF) – it is something I’ve used ever since completing my qualifications in 2015. The concept is based on my ethos and how I train. I’m a qualified personal trainer and fully certified contemporary and classical Pilates instructor, and over the years I’ve seen how the blend of these disciplines can transform a person’s life.
When I was at Equinox I saw the effect of this daily. The combined value of both mobility and strength is so much greater than just one or the other. We now want to take this a step further and incorporate the mind, so it really is a complete approach and one that you won’t encounter anywhere else.
The vision had originally been to create a studio experience that brought these different dimensions together, but then Covid emerged so we pivoted to an online proposition instead.
Why is the mind element so important?
When I was at Equinox I’d have clients turn up on their phones, minds elsewhere, not present and completely distracted. They would attempt to work out but it was a waste of everyone’s time. They would go through the motions, pull all the shapes but have absolutely no mind to muscle connection. If you’re going to turn up then you’ve got to be in the moment otherwise, there is no point.
I think as a society we have got into the habit of rushing around from place to place and never truly being in one moment. By incorporating mindfulness into your workout it helps you to be more present both on and off the mat, which is what A Body Forever is all about.
Can you explain the tagline “Changing the narrative”?
Unfortunately, the fitness industry has traditionally done little to help people on their journey to live healthier and happier lives. Consumers are sold the wrong ideologies around what constitutes as “healthy” and they are told that to live a fulfiled life you have to be perfect, which is ridiculous because perfection doesn’t exist and these unrealistic expectations set everyone up for failure.
The trouble is nobody wants to talk about the unsexy stuff. All the publications want to concentrate on burning calories and losing weight, unless you are severely overweight (as in life-threatening) that shouldn’t be the focus. We should be talking about how we stay healthy forever and build mobility and strength because it’s good for your body and mind. We should focus on long term goals, not just 12-week programmes that result in short term physical outcomes with little substance that people immediately lose once the programme is done.
I know people who have achieved aesthetic goals and are still really unhappy in the end because they haven’t addressed what is really going on for them underneath it all – body, mind and soul. It becomes a vicious cycle with no long-term direction or longevity.
Of course, we all want to look good, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But what we need is a more holistic approach. We need to combine physical and mental practices and tackle long-lasting health and happiness from all angles. We need to become bakers of our future and no one baked anything tasty with one ingredient.
Thankfully, I do believe we’re on the brink of a much-needed change. Our goal is to build a community of like-minded people who want to join us on this journey and Change The Narrative together.
How is this incorporated into your programmes?
Our programmes are designed to give our users structure, a solid plan, direction and help them to create habits that will last a lifetime.
We are launching ABF MIND very soon and we are really excited to start fusing The Mind + The Body together to create a user programme that does it all. We are still developing this section but by the end of 2022, we will have a plethora of programmes for anyone to dive into. You can also create your own programmes if you want.
The first ABF MIND programme is with Johnson Chong, a meditation expert. This programme is designed to take our users on a journey into themselves. It has been developed to help our users gain a deeper understanding of who we are as humans, our emotions, how stories, our triggers and how getting a better grasp on who we are as individuals will ultimately enable us to live longer, healthier and happier lives both on and off the mat.
It’s about taking the foundations we teach you and ultimately using this to be the best version of you. I know that sounds cheesy but who doesn’t want that?
How can you ensure the experience is still premium, despite being delivered virtually?
The perception of online platforms and experiences has changed. There was a time before the pandemic where it was perhaps seen as a cheaper alternative to in-person experiences, but I don’t believe that’s the case any longer. People recognise that digital interaction is now a fundamental part of our existence.
Even though our workouts are on-demand we are a click away from connecting with anyone who needs to talk. We pride ourselves on our customer service and we always get back to everyone who reaches out. We offer advice, guide our users as to what workouts are best for them, help them create programmes and are there for them in whatever capacity we can be.
There are all sorts of things we can do to ensure it’s still a premium experience. The way we see it is that we are a studio without walls.
The key is finding the right people. All our instructors are like family. They’re not only extremely knowledgeable but also kind, quirky, fun, hardworking and trustworthy people. They are all unique in their own way. Our doors are always open to anyone passionate about what they do and we are blessed to have them all involved.
The workouts we offer are really dynamic and we work hard to bring together the best of both Pilates and Fitness/PT. Then there’s the music, which is my other background. I select the tracks and then my husband mixes them down. We license the platform music from Anjuna Deep and each workout has a bespoke DJ mix which is a huge part of the experience. Everything we do, we do with music in mind, it really is a way of life for me and ABF. We have our own Spotify Channel as well where we publish new playlists every month.