We all walk through Frame’s doors for different reasons, but whether you’re tightening and toning in TRX Train or digging deep in Yin Yoga there’s one thing we share: we want to feel freaking amazing. But for some Framers, it goes even beyond kicking the a** out of our day-to-day stressors; exercise and moving their bodies is a crucial part of managing their mental health.
To kick off Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve plucked two of our instructors – one high fi (Keith Hahn of HIIT PT and other Camp Room classics fame who found a new focus for his hyperactivity) and one lo fi (Andy Kobelinsky who assuaged her party girl ways when she started hitting the yoga mat)…
KEITH HAHN, FITNESS INSTRUCTOR & PERSONAL TRAINER
When I was younger I only worked out to prepare for a sport – I played American football, and basketball among others – but I switched to body building when I got older (this is when it was becoming more popular to ‘bulk up’ and build muscle) and eventually changed to calisthenics (bodyweight workouts) which is what my training specialism is now. When I started focusing on calisthenics, I also began to be able to become mentally stronger and find balance during stressful times.
As a naturally hyper person, exercise gives me an outlet for that energy and also carries me through stressful times (especially when I worked in the City before becoming a PT). If something is on my mind, I tend to hold things in and ‘just get on with it’; working out is my way of releasing that and staying mentally stable while also enjoying myriad other benefits: purging the mind of negativity, stimulating creative thinking and balancing out a healthy mental climate by improving mood and self esteem.
No matter how brutal the workout session is or how bad I’m feeling on a particular day, I chase the endorphin rush and the sense of achievement at the end of the workout. People sometimes forget that it’s the mind leading the body and that all of the physical results from training are outputs of a strong mind.
ANDY KOBELINSKY, YOGA TEACHER
Exercise has always been a big part of my life. When I came across gymnastics at about 5 or 6 years old, I begged my mum for a whole month to take me to practice. She finally relented, and I practiced gymnastics for another 13 years and eventually landed a place on the Argentinean National team. I travelled the world going to tournaments and championships. I had to do eight hours of training every day and was on a very strict diet. My life was full on.
When I was 18, the time came to end my career as a gymnast and did a 180. I wanted to party like any other teenager, and I wanted to eat cakes and chocolates, too! But things changed. From doing all that exercise and dieting to sedentary school life, I gained a lot of weight. My body really changed and that affected my mental and physical health a lot. I was depressed, didn’t want to see anyone, and I felt ugly.
I went to lots of therapy to start feeling better and normal again, but it was always a struggle. It wasn’t until I was studying in London and came across yoga and Pilates that my life began to change. My body started to change. My muscles re-appeared and I generally felt so much better. I was so much happier; it was the missing piece in my life. I finally stopped worrying about my weight and started enjoying my body in a different way; I felt strong, likeable and happy. I became a yoga teacher three years ago because I wanted everyone to experience the goodness of breathing and moving and exploring all the infinite qualities that showing up on the mat can offer.
Of course we all have days we don’t feel up for it (I still do!) but coming to the mat can change that. You can learn to accept each day as it comes, with its imperfections and challenges and ups and downs. And we can peel away the labels of good and bad, and embrace whatever form of beauty we bring to the mat each day.
There are still a few spaces left at both of our Mental Health Awareness panels this week: Staying Sane While Spinning Plates. We’re hosting one geared toward Mums and one for all Framers, with 50% of proceeds going to the charity Heads Together.