When you think about impressive movers performing incredible skills, some of the names that come to mind might include Ido Portal, Al Kavadlo, Mike Fitch, Steve Atlas… and maybe even Ryan Hurst.
But there’s no reason a woman can’t learn to do some amazing things too. Verity Bradford is one example from our GMB community.
She started her athletic endeavors with Crossfit and weight training, and even picked up rock climbing along the way, eventually finding her home at GMB. Her journey in fitness and steady progress provides some great lessons on how both men and women can achieve success and continue to make headway while still enjoying the process and having fun.
Verity is passionate about expanding her body’s abilities, and she thrives on big goals, even enlisting Ryan’s help to achieve the one arm handstand!
A highly creative textile designer, she creates products to be used by other designers for their collections and garments worldwide. With her nontraditional work schedule, Verity has a lot of time and energy to devote to achieving her fitness goals:
Having the job I do allows me a lot of time and flexibility to train, which is a big reason why I love it so much. I spend every morning knitting or doing research or working in my sketchpad. I am really lucky because there is a private gym downstairs in the same building as my flat, so I can start training between 3.30pm and 4:00pm and be in the gym for up to three hours.
That sounds great, but with so much flexibility, it was difficult for her to find direction in her training.
Verity felt a bit lost and overwhelmed without guidance or a good program to follow. And after a while, she realized that she wasn’t making much progress with her skill development.
Then she found GMB.
Verity’s Challenge: Making the Most of a Structured Program Without the Boredom
Like many people, Verity started off with big ambitions and a lot of energy to devote towards training. The question was how to structure her training to maximize her results.
When I came across GMB I was looking for a resource to help expand my knowledge and understanding of training. I wasn’t following a specific programme and wanted guidance and a bit more structure implemented into my training. At the time I was mainly lifting and training gymnastic rings. I was looking to build more strength and learn new skills, but had no one to give me advice or critique me.
She had a lot of options and researched a number of different training approaches. Verity didn’t mind spending hours on her training, as long as she was still having fun. The last thing she wanted was a repetitive structure that would leave her feeling bored.
With GMB’s four-phase approach, Verity was introduced to the concept of incorporating elements of play into her training.
GMB provides structured training programmes, because that is how you achieve a specific skill, but they also have a huge emphasis on creative movement and “play”. Members of the Alpha Posse would post videos of different movements they were exploring and so I could take ideas and try them myself. There are monthly challenges in which you are given a specific skill, for example crow pose, and you are shown the different progressions surrounding it.
Then you get to explore it and create your own variations. I found that this sort of thing helped to break up the repetitiveness of following a structured programme and in turn made the quality of everything else I was working on a lot better.
Here’s the Result of Learning to Balance Structured Work with Personal Exploration
Working with GMB, Verity gained a better understanding of movement and how to adjust her training to maximize her results in whatever skill she took on. This was especially evident in her handstand training.
The ability to move more fluidly and creatively with more awareness transferred over to a lot of things, in particular my handstands. As I started training them in more depth I found that I could challenge my body with movement and I had a better understanding of what I was capable of. I wasn’t limited to static holds and I would spend hours just exploring moving in and out of different shapes.
Verity’s Suggestions for Successful Practice
Clearly, Verity has had a lot of advantages to accomplish what she has – youth, good health, plenty of free time – but you can still apply the same strategies that have been so effective for her to your own situation.
Here’s a few lessons that helped her keep progressing, in her own words:
Find a Mentor That Fits Your Learning Style and Temperament
I decided to join Alpha Posse and once I started posting videos of my training and receiving feedback I found that there were areas of strength, particularly on rings, that I’d been neglecting. I immediately had access to new progressions to work on to improve this and I was able to correct my technique on movements that I thought I was doing properly. This meant I was making faster gains.
When you post videos of your training, the coaches are able to see what needs to be improved on and give incredibly clear feedback. Ryan and the other coaches have a very relaxed approach to coaching. They encourage you to take it seriously but they want it to be fun and don’t make you feel pressured to achieve your goals instantly.
This attitude and approach towards training was exactly what I was looking for. Alpha Posse is a very positive environment to be part of.
Training Shouldn’t Feel Like a Chore
I’ve learnt that it is possible to find a way of training that fits into your lifestyle and not the other way around. There is no pressure to achieve things instantly, but to just enjoy the process and take your time.
I think this is why GMB is so accessible to anyone, any age, at any point in their life.
The support you receive from being part of this community keeps you motivated and focussed, while at the same time enjoying every single second of training. For anyone unsure of how to get started, start with GMB and you won’t look back!
Start with Assessing Your Skills and Build Up From There
I started with Foundation 7 (aka F7), which is the programme given to you when you join Alpha Posse. It runs for 7 weeks, and measures your ability of seven different skills and movements, for example pull ups, handstands and jumps, in order to determine your current foundation of different elements such as strength, flexibility and power.
I chose to start with this, as I wanted to see what my physical foundation was so that I could start building on each different area. I was then able to follow the programme to improve each different skill, and this meant I no longer had to guess how to reach certain goals.
I could clearly see the areas I was strong in and the areas I was weak in. I found this was a fantastic introduction into the GMB method.
Focus Your Training for Faster Progress
When I started with F7 I still worked on other things along side the programme. I continued squatting, I was going climbing and taking gymnastics classes. I wasn’t limited to only following the programme, I really liked the way I could decide what I wanted to get out of it and didn’t have to follow it exactly. I used it more to decide what area of training I wanted to focus on.
I then started working more closely with Ryan. He programmed training for me that would help me to achieve more technical skills. Once I began this I stuck to the programme exactly.
Find Your Own Passion and You’ll Do What Needs to Be Done
My main goal right now is a one arm handstand.
I haven’t worked on anything this technical before and I am incredibly fortunate to have Ryan guiding me through it.
It’s time consuming, grueling and monotonous and yet I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed training anything so much. I would never be at the point I am with my training if it wasn’t for becoming part of GMB.
In order to continue training at this level I’m having to get my diet as spot on as possible and make sure I get enough rest and sleep.
Maintaining this is sometimes very hard work, but I will get out what I put in to the process.
How You Can Learn from Verity’s Example to Make Progress on Your Own Journey
Is it time for your own personal transformation?
It’s likely that your schedule is more restricted than Verity’s, but the challenge is the same – how to get the maximum value out of your training time without being overwhelmed and adding even more stress to your hectic life. For Verity, we were able to look at her training logs and give her advice that helped her find the right balance of structure and play for her goals.
If you’re dissatisfied with your current routines, activities, or progress, you could benefit from the support of likeminded individuals like Verity did. She and our other Alpha members are working together and getting advice from GMB coaches every day inside the members’ area.
Follow along with Verity’s progress by checking out her personal blog: Move Like A Child.