David Eriksson was out of shape and looking for answers.
Like many people starting out, he just wanted to look good, so he worked with a strict bodybuilding routine and diet for a while.
“I lost a ton of weight, so now I wasn’t fat – I was skinny for the first time in my life,” he told us. “And I realized [at that point] I wasn’t really primarily interested in aesthetics or training for aesthetics [anymore]. I wanted performance.”
He was only 20 years old, but he recognized early on in his training life that feeling good and moving well were far more important than just focusing on what he saw in the mirror.
The power lifting regimen he started working on helped David get stronger, but he just didn’t feel like he was gaining control and confidence in his body. That’s when he found GMB and decided to take an unusual step for a 20-year-old by going “back to the basics.”
“I was mature enough to know and to realize that I was at the very basic level in movement and I needed to build my basics, to get the basics down.”
It’s uncommon for such a young person to be able to take a step back and look at the big picture, but by that point, David had already put tremendous effort into conventional training methods, and he didn’t feel like he really had what he wanted to show for it.
As he wrote to us in his initial email, “My longterm goal was to be able to ‘free my body’ and to ‘be able to show strength, flexibility, and body control in everything I do.'”
Elements gave him the tools to gain that freedom.
While David’s previous training had always had an external focus – getting leaner, gaining muscle, adding more weight to the bar – his experience with Elements was quite different.
“I think the most valuable thing was not physical at all, but mental. It really made me realize my weaknesses and opened my eyes to really see what’s important and what I need to focus on. It pointed me in the right direction.
I didn’t have a sudden wake up or realization from Elements. It was a journey over 7 weeks, and it slowly changed my mindset and attitude towards training, without me consciously thinking about it. More impressive than the gains I made in flexibility and movement quality, is my approach in training and how it changed over 7 weeks.”
How Mindful Training Changed Everything for David
David has actually gone through Elements twice, and each time was a completely different experience for him.
His first time through, he was still, first and foremost, a weightlifter, “looking to put more kilos on my lifts.” He admits he wasn’t very focused the first time around, especially towards the beginning of the program.
He was just going through the motions because the very idea of mindful practice was so foreign to him. It wasn’t until he had nearly completed the program that it finally clicked for him.
“The more knowledge I gain about physical autonomy, the more I recognize the brilliance of bear, monkey, and frogger. It’s not just hopping forward or to the side in monkey or frogger. It’s about self-knowledge, getting to feel how it is being in control of your body, and controlling it mindfully. That realization changes you and develops a bulletproof mindset.”
With that shift in mindset, he decided to go through Elements again, but with a much more conscious and present approach.
He told us his second round through Elements was “very different because I had a completely different mindset going in to it. The second round has been much more mindful and focused, and I approached it as just as important as my ring training and floor training.”
If you think mindful training means longer training sessions, that’s simply not true. David said, “I never went over the [recommended] 3-5 minutes because that allows you to be more focused. It really works.”
For David, everything changed after that point. He started to really understand what it means to be in control of your body, and he realized that, with a physical movement practice, “You get what you put in. If you put in mindful practice, you’ll get so much more out of it.”
David’s Big 3 Benefits: Improved Flexibility, Better Ease of Movement, and a Bulletproof Mindset
David got tremendous benefit from going through Elements, and he’s gone on to accomplish quite a lot because of what he gained by going back to the basics first.
Here are the biggest benefits David got from this experience.
“I think I gained more flexibility from Elements and the locomotive exercises than from stretching,” David reflected, with some surprise even now.
When David sets his mind to something, he goes for it full force. When he decided to improve his flexibility, it was no different. But even after months of dedicated stretching, he did not get the flexibility results he got from Elements.
The surprising part about this benefit is that, “You don’t think about increasing flexibility when doing these moves. You just do the moves, focusing on them, and bam – increased flexibility.”
Better Ease of Movement
When David first decided to do Elements, he says he was “skeptical” that the benefits of learning to move better would really apply to so much.
By the time he completed the program, he was convinced. “The ease of movement and motor control translates into absolutely everything. That’s how it’s marketed and I was skeptical – I didn’t think it would apply to absolutely everything. But it does.”
He told us one story about when he was going through Rings One, after his first round of Elements.
“I remember the first week I was doing Rings One and I posted on the Alpha Posse forums asking how to get my heels closer to my butt in the tuck shoulder stand, and Chris answered ‘bear walks.’ Even though I had gone through Elements once at that point, I was like, ‘come on, Chris… It’s not the cure for cancer…’ But you know what? It helped. Of course it did.”
One strategy David attributes a lot of his success to with his second run through Elements is that he recorded every session, and “I now see myself from the camera’s view while completing my movements. That has increased my motor control tremendously. You want to try to make it look as good as it feels.”
We’ve already talked about how David changed his mindset, both over the course of the program, and from his first round to his second round of the program. But his mindset shift really was the biggest thing he got out of Elements, and it carried through to later goals.
“I would not have the mindset I have now without Elements,” he said. “It made me continue to research and learn and be curious.”
That curiosity and ability to continue looking for answers, even when they’re not the sexiest ones, is what’s allowed David to make the progress he has. He’s become a beautiful mover in his own right, and it all stems from developing this “bulletproof mindset.”
How Elements Laid a Foundation for Physical Mastery
Since completing Elements, David has gone through many of our other programs, including Focused Flexibility, Vitamin, Floor One, Rings One, and Rings Two.
By improving his flexibility and ease of movement, and transforming his fitness (and life) mindset, David discovered that any skill he wanted became possible. Here are two of his proudest accomplishments since his Elements experience:
Strict Rings Muscle-Up
Full Drop to Backbend
And for David, this journey all began with Elements.
“I would recommend Elements to absolutely every single person alive. People move like crap. We know that. Everyone needs this very basic approach and mindful approach to movement. It’s absolutely awesome to just move. If someone, regardless of age, asked me where to begin, I would point them to Elements. This is where it begins.”
Build Your Foundation for Physical Mastery
With Elements, you’ll build the strength, flexibility, and control you need to tackle any physical skill or challenge. The foundation you build will set you up for a lifetime of staying fit and active.