Who are you, how old are you, what do you do?
My name is Wayne Lèal. I’m 58 years young and a global Health Coach with many years’ experience, a recent grandfather, an author and a former small business of the year award winner. I have trained boxing champions, Premier League footballers and captains of industry. I am also the UK ambassador for Americas No.1 selling fitness trampoline, JumpSport and a featured guest presenter at Champneys: the UK’s No. 1 health spa.
How did you get into health coaching?
What I do is very much a vocation rather than a job, a natural progression as a consequence of lifelong training coupled with the desire to help others achieve their fitness goals and improve their lives.
How does your own training benefit you yourself?
I train using the self-same programme that my clients do! I have injured every major joint in my body over the years and if it were not for the exercise, I would be in a wheelchair or using a walking aid. It keeps me moving and makes me a walking talking advertisement for my programme: the proof that it really does work.
Tell us a bit about your ART programme?
What started out as a vague idea has manifested itself into a tri-training programme which reaches beyond simply physical change and offers a way to move your body and change your mind. The A•R•T (Ageless Realistic Transformation) of Exercise is setting new standards for exercising because its underlying success lies in its simplicity, using exercises that can be done by anyone, at any age. The basic elements of the programme are: aqua (water exercises rather than ‘just’ swimming), rebounding (ie trampolining, for the uninitiated!) and yoga, with the thread of mindfulness running throughout. The exercises can be combined in different ways depending on age, fitness levels and what you want to achieve, but the real beauty of the programme for Silver Grey clients is that all exercises are low impact: reducing the risk of strain to joints or muscles but still burning calories and working on strength, flexibility and balance.
Have you trained many people over 50? How old is the oldest?
Forty percent of my clients are over 50 years of age. I travel the world teaching at 5 star spas and the demographic is usually a slightly older age group. That relates to people who have the time and money to afford a lifestyle beyond the reach of adults with young families. My oldest client was an 84-year-old man who lost three inches around his waist in the space of twelve weeks so that he could fit into a vintage airplane participating in a fly by to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.
Are there differences compared to training younger people?
With younger people it tends to be more about the aesthetics and achieving a change, an attractive outcome in the shortest possible time. Older people, in contrast, generally accept that they can no longer rush into things, especially if the body needs to readjust to movement and exercise after a long period of relative immobility. Their goals are more long term and wellbeing oriented, or they are exercising due to specific health problems and have no choice other than to change their lifestyle.
How do you start with people who haven’t trained before?
Slowly! Training someone who has never exercised before is a joy, if they have made up their mind that this is what they want to do. But it is a losing battle if they are only doing it under duress and resent rather than embracing the need to change. It’s easier to work with a person who thinks they know it all, than someone who has no spark at all!
Are there any limits to what someone can achieve?
Of course there are limits but a lot of them are placed by our own minds rather than having any physical justification. One has to remember that getting fit is relatively easy - maintaining good and healthy habits long term is the real challenge in life.
Do you work on strength training as well as aerobic with your Silver Grey clients?
As a tri-training program A•R•T covers every aspect of your wellbeing; muscle strength, suppleness, flexibility, cardio and focus. But more importantly for my Silver Grey clients, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention discovered back in 2013 that doing balance exercises can have an immediate impact on health and wellbeing: and virtually all of the A•R•T movements have an element which challenges your balance.
What do you think of HIIT? Is suitable for some/any/none of your Silver Grey clients/Silver Greys in general?
I integrate HIIT into the A•R•T programme because there exists scientific proof that the short bursts of exercise sequences do actually work. When I first started training over 44 years ago it was called Circuit Training!
Anything you’d like to say/add?
I have a studio in Fulham, Central London and also cater for clients at Champneys Spa in Tring. My book, The A•R•T of Exercise, will be published in January 2017. It will help you to set realistic goals for yourself and to implement a strategy, based around the exercise programme, to achieve them. Through positive lifestyle changes, reducing stress and increasing exercise adapted to your body, your age and your level of fitness you can achieve truly wonderful things – strengthening your body and mind in order to be happy and healthy.