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Blog Spotlight Interview: Jason Williams

17th May 2019 by Katerina Liapis, MSPT
jason williams

Introduction:

Jason Williams is a wellbeing coach based in Baltimore, Maryland. As a personal trainer, meditation teacher, reiki practitioner and nutrition counselor, he offers his clients a holistic approach to fitness. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and helping his clients build the skills to create a strong mind-body connection to promote lifelong health. For more information, check out his website: www.jasonwilliamswellbeing.com and follow him on Instagram @charmcitypt.

Q: Hi Jason – thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. Tell me about how your career has evolved in the fitness industry – how did your interest in fitness come about?

A: I studied Sports Medicine in college and I ran track there for four years, but after I graduated I wasn’t quite sure in what direction I wanted to take my career. When I returned home, I joined a gym and one of the trainers suggested that I study personal training. I ended up really liking it and eventually, I started taking Pilates classes and became an instructor. I liked the fact that anyone can do Pilates regardless of their fitness level. Eventually, I moved down to Baltimore City and started learning more about using Pilates equipment and about the importance of postural alignment. This was my focus during the 5 years that I worked at Maryland Athletic Clubs. Later on, I got into Barre and I began teaching Barre classes. I had also started doing yoga and also studied meditation. It’s been great to have a variety of options to offer my clients.

Q: You clearly have a love for movement. What is your earliest memory regarding movement and exercise?

A: Playing outside with friends – I remember playing ‘rundown’ as a kid. I don’t know if anyone remembers that game. My friends and I played almost every sport – soccer, basketball, touch football – we did a little bit of everything in our neighborhood. I was into being active in my community. I think that’s what missing today – just being outside, playing and interacting with other kids. Movement is so important to instill at a young age.

Q: What types of clients do you train? Do you have a certain age group or people of a certain fitness level with whom you work primarily? Where is your facility?

A: The typical age group that I train consists of young professionals in their thirties to individuals who are in their sixties or seventies, although I used to train adolescent clients including athletes. Most of my clients have come to me through referrals. I am fortunate to work out of my local gym which has allowed me to create a training space. Sometimes I go to my clients and train them at their community gym or in their gym spaces in their apartment buildings.
Q: Do you incorporate nutritional counseling with all of your clients?

A: I used to do more one on one nutritional coaching. Now I provide general guidelines to my clients and teach them tips and tricks. My own eating approaches have evolved over the years, and this has helped me to give better advice to my clients. For more specific medical conditions, I leave those interventions to the nutritionists or the functional medicine practitioners. If a client asks me about my diet, I educate them on what I have learned about proper eating habits and how they relates to fitness.

Q: What influenced you to study meditation and reiki and how do you include these offerings in your fitness practice?

A: I was introduced to yoga in 2013 and then became aware of meditation through that experience. I later started writing for mindbodygreen. When I took a course with Charlie Knolls, I learned about meditation and I decided to continue and become trained. I saw the benefits of meditation in my own life, especially as a component of my workout. It has helped me learn to be more mindful in all areas of my life. As I began incorporating meditation with my clients, I started teaching them techniques that I had learned and they appreciated how helpful it was. As far as reiki, I used to receive reiki and then eventually trained to become a reiki practitioner. I really enjoy providing reiki to my clients – I find that it helps get to the root of why they aren’t achieving the goals that they are setting. It has helped them learn more about what is going on in their body and be more attuned to how they are feeling.

Q: It’s evident that you take a holistic approach to fitness and that you are open minded when it comes to using different training modalities. Whole body vibration is a new concept for most people. What was your impression of it when you first became aware? Were you skeptical?

A: I first heard about it a few years ago when I attended a convention and had the opportunity to try a whole body vibration platform. Prior to that, I was not familiar with it. I understood the ideas and concepts – I knew that there was something to it. I didn’t hear much about it again until I came across the Hypervibe.

Q: How did you first hear about Hypervibe?

A: I first saw it on Instagram. Brie had reached out to me and she sent me a message and asked if I would be interested in testing it out. Once I tried it, I could easily see the potential benefits. I felt the difference in the Hypervibe right away compared to the other platform that I had tried. You definitely have to get on one and experience the feeling of the vibration to get a full appreciation of what it can do.

Q: Tell me about your experience taking the Hypervibe Foundation Training course – did you learn anything new that you didn’t previously know about whole body vibration?

A: I learned a lot more about the science behind it and really came to understand how the plate works. That was huge – it was a great to clarify that. There were a wide variety of exercises that I learned that I hadn’t thought of before taking the course. We all had our ideas about what we could do with it, but the course allowed us to get a nice structure to work from so that we could build our own classes and trainings.

Q: How have you integrated the Hypervibe into your training?

A: With clients, I really like to use it at the end of the sessions for cool downs and recovery from a hard workout. I’ve also been using it for warm ups and balance training. It’s a great all in one tool – you can use it individually as well as in a group class setting.

Q: How have your clients been responding to the Hypervibe? Were any of them familiar with whole body vibration before you introduced it?

A: None of my clients had used a whole body vibration platform before. They’re all loving Hypervibe. I have clients with low back pain who have experienced an immediate decrease in their pain levels, even when using it briefly. Everyone I have used it with has enjoyed the sensation and has responded well.

Q: What have you witnessed to be most valuable benefits of whole body vibration for your clients?

A: I would say the fact that it has allowed so many people to experience alleviation of their pain – especially in the lower back. Also the improvements in flexibility – the combination of warm up and recovery exercises really help in this area. I have noticed that it is also a great tool to improve people’s running ability and ability to do yoga. The Hypervibe offers great cross training benefits. It is also very useful for advancing core training.

Q: Have you experienced any personal changes as a result of using the Hypervibe? Have you established a certain routine that is helping you to meet or maintain your own fitness goals?

A: I have used it in my own routine for warm-up and cool down regularly. I have noticed that my metabolism was boosted – my percentage of body fat has decreased since I started using it.
People have been commenting over the past few weeks that I appear more fit – I couldn’t recall that I had done anything different. Then I thought about it and realized that I have been using Hypervibe 3 to 4 times a week and it’s definitely making a difference. I have also found that my strength has increased as well.

Q: What is the most creative exercise that you have come up with using the Hypervibe?

A: I have used the foam roller in a hands and knees position – knees on the foam roller and hands on the Hypervibe. This is very challenging and provides an amazing core workout.

Q: What is your favorite way to use the Hypervibe?

A: I love combining it with meditation. It puts you in a higher state of present moment awareness and promotes relaxation by reducing cortisol levels at the end of a workout. I even use it as an assessment tool to determine what other approaches that I might need to take with the client. You never know how your clients will present physically or mentally when they walk through your door, so you have to be on your toes. Using the Hypervibe to assess how they are feeling is a good way to become aware of their stress level. For some clients, I might build a harder workout by having them do very challenging exercises on the Hypervibe, and for others, I may use it more as a tool for recovery and relaxation.

Q: Getting back to the topic of meditation, tell us about the upcoming event that you are hosting for National Meditation Day – when and where will this event take place?

A: National Meditation Day is May 31st. I am giving a group workshop here in Baltimore from 7 to 8:30 PM at Sanctuary Body Works which is a personal training/physical therapy facility. It’s in an old renovated church, so it’s a beautiful space. I will be teaching some different styles of meditation and end with a candlelight meditation. There will also be some free giveaways from companies that will be donating various products and services so this will be a really amazing event as well as a way to give back to people in the community.

Q: Give me your insight on how vibration can be combined with meditation – what are your thoughts on this?

A: It’s a great tool for getting you into a meditative state, especially after a hard workout. It offers you a cool down and a way to access the mind-body connection. It allows you to almost visualize your body repairing itself. The vibration feels really good on your spine and it puts you almost in a euphoric state. Your heart rate begins to calm down, you start to relax and you are less likely to be thinking so much. It’s almost like savasana in yoga.
Q: On another topic, you’re a man of many talents – you are also a writer. Would you mind sharing how you developed the concept of Frankie Fitness?

A: Sure. The Adventures of Frankie Fitness includes three children’s books about fitness, nutrition and meditation. I wrote the first one around 2010 and it got published in 2014. I met someone who was a Lululemon ambassador and he connected me with someone who put me in touch with an illustrator and it progressed from there.

Q: Was there a particular person or situation that inspired you to write the books?

A: In my earlier days as a personal trainer, I had the opportunity to work with kids. I wondered how I could inspire children to start being active at a younger age. I also wanted to provide tools for parents to learn how to exercise with their kids, to learn more about nutrition and even learn about meditation. The books are currently available on my website.

Q: I see that you also have a podcast – what has been your primary goal for that offering?

A: I just started doing the podcast this year. They generally run for about 15 to 20 minutes. I wanted to offer something tangible that people could take away – quick tips, tricks and hacks. I recently started inviting local people in the area to join me on the podcast to discuss the health and fitness related services that they offer – this has been a great collaboration.

Q: Can you offer any words of advice to people who are discouraged or unmotivated when it comes to getting fit?

A: One of the biggest pieces of advice that I have given over the 17 years that I have been a trainer is to try not to place more stress on yourself when it comes to working out. I remind people that any movement that they do will be beneficial for their body. It’s important to realize the effect of stress on the body and how to manage it. Whether it’s taking a walk or getting a massage, it’s important to deal with it. If you hold stress in your body, you won’t get the results that you are looking for. Stress management is another great purpose for using the Hypervibe – just experiencing the vibration sensation releases stress.

Q: What is the most important aspect of your training philosophy that you would you like your prospective clients to know?

A: At the end of the day, working out and eating should be fun. I try to provide my clients with as many ideas as possible about how to accomplish this. I enjoy watching people meet their goals and appreciate celebrating their accomplishments with them.

Thank you again, Jason, for sharing your story and your insights with us. We look forward to following your journey and we are proud to have you as a Hypervibe Ambassador. #team Hypervibe

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