SARAH SHORTT: Hi Adam! You’ve just finished filming BODYATTACK™ 106. How was the experience for you?
ADAM BRAMSKI: The filming week was challenging, because I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried things that were really unfamiliar to me.
It could have gone one of two ways: either it could work, or I could learn from it. Sometimes it worked and sometimes I learned from it which, as someone who really wants to get it right, was really hard! But at the end of the day it’s the stuff you learn from that helps you grow the most.
And how was the actual filming experience?
You know, leading up to filming, I was so in my head that when I taught the first few rehearsal classes, I didn’t see anyone in the room – nobody. I looked through people and not into people, and that was really disappointing because my strength is connection. So I felt I let myself down by not teaching from my strength.
However, when it came to the actual filming Masterclass, I saw every single person in the room. I taught to the people who were in front of me, and it felt 100 per cent real. They walked away feeling like I saw them so I was really proud of that!
However, I didn’t feel happy and proud straight after filming. In the moment, I was super disappointed in myself for not getting everything perfect. I went back to my room and started to get into this negative downward spiral of, why didn’t I say this or what could I have done differently throughout the week… and I had to just stop. Literally, I told myself out loud, “stop!” I had to get into the space of holding a picture of those people in my mind as my positive experience – and not dwelling on what I should have done differently.
You’ve both gone through Advanced Training yourself, and are facilitating it for other Instructors. Can you tell me how this training has changed your approach to teaching?
It’s taught me to try new things. And be kind to yourself when you try new things! Know that people come to class for more than just fitness… so when you’re all up in your head worrying about your choreography and technique and ensuring you get your coaching cues right, you miss out on the opportunity to really make an impact by seeing who’s in front of you and adapting to what they need. Some people don’t want coaching. Some people just want connection, whereas others want silence and to listen to the music – you need to be able to read your audience.
Rather than just checking the boxes, it’s important to teach to what people want in the room – and not just what you’ve got written down as your idea of a perfect class. What’s THEIR idea of a perfect class and how can you deliver it to them?
A big part of Advanced Training is to identify your empowering and limiting beliefs. Could you share yours?
My limiting belief is, “I’m not good enough”. For me it’s always been tied up with, “who does he think he is?” Because I failed gym class in school and never played sports, so I almost felt like, what right do I have to be on stage trying to “act” like an athlete? When I’ve never really been an athlete.
But my empowering belief is that when you put the work in, the physical stuff is just a part of it: “I am strong and fit enough – mentally and physically”.
A lot of people would have considered you to be an Advanced Instructor already, even before you did the training. What did the course do you for you personally?
It gave me permission to just be myself when teaching – which is really hard in the fitness industry. You can feel like you need to say stuff like they do on videos and you need to look a certain way… you need to post social media like certain people and you need to do a lot of external things that would qualify you as an “influencer” – like getting a lot of likes or putting out a lot of amazing content and I realised, I actually don’t need to do that. I just need to be myself.
It made me reflect on my values, and to question whether my actions were aligning with my values. I did have to shift some things and now I feel really good about what I stand for both as an Instructor and as a person. I know I’m living my values and not trying to be someone I don’t even want to be.
So what are your values?
Number one is inclusivity. That’s because of my mom, Patty. I always tell people, my mom was the person who wanted to lose 10 pounds before she joined the gym. I got her a gym membership one year for Christmas and she was so offended because she hadn’t lost the 10 pounds yet. It took her weeks to get into the gym. She got in and took BODYPUMP™ for the first time. I told her, “Just use the bar and leave after four tracks, nobody will looking at you”. She used to be back row Patty and – flash forward four years – now she’s front row Patty! She requests songs to Instructors, she Facetimes me and shows me the exercises...
I think about those people who sit in their cars before the gym and have to talk themselves up as they’re walking through the door. A lot of us don’t understand that… I always remember, that member is somebody’s mother, or sister, or father. I want them to leave feeling successful and good about themselves, so I always teach to the Pattys in the room.
Number two – honesty. I’m never gonna hustle for my worth and post something I don’t want to post or do something I don’t want do or say something I don’t believe. I will always stand my ground and I won’t deliver a message that I don’t believe in.
Number three is hard work. I learned that from my mom. She was a single mom who did day-care for nine kids in a two-bedroom apartment and we were super poor growing up. When she wasn’t doing day-care she was cleaning houses, and she did that because she wanted to give me and my sister the best life possible.
Hard work means having a strong work ethic: always put your work into learning your material, practise your technique, script your stuff, but also do it with the intention that it’s going to help someone else – like my mom did for me. I still give her a gym membership for Christmas and this year I said, “Aren’t you glad you get the gift of training?” And she said, “You give me the gift of empowerment.” I always hold that close to my heart when people are taking my class – that’s somebody’s mom and this is more than just a workout. It’s more than just reps – it’s empowering people to feel better about themselves. And when you feel better about yourself, you treat other people better.
Adam Bramski is a member of the LMUS TAP Team. He is based in Chicago, where he is also a Group Fitness Manager and Neuro-linguistic Programming practitioner.