I’m not on board with most commercial gym settings. Loud oppressive music, top 100 film clips, bunches of recently certified personal trainers competing with guys in stringy tank tops for attention. It’s not my kind of place. I know fantastic people who attend and staff these facilities, but for me, I’d rather get root canal surgery than go into this environment on a regular basis.
You see, I’m kind of introverted. I’d rather not go out most of the time, and, while I like people, I prefer small groups. I like music, but I’m not on top of the most recent releases. For the most part, when I train, I like to have a coffee, enjoy some time around people I already know and like, and quietly go about my business. In fact, usually, when I train, I don’t even put on music.
‘At QKB, the goal is not short-term, rapid change so much as being a learner’
I come from a background in youth work and education. So a lot of what we strive to do at QKB stems from that. In youth work, your goal is to create safe places where people feel safe to be, and express, themselves. You try to create communities rather than simply getting people to co-exist. In education, you help people to make incremental, satisfying progress and develop some aspect of their personhood or skill set. At QKB, the goal is not short-term, rapid change so much as being a learner (a bunch of primary schools have the following words up for kids think about and strive for: Be safe; Be responsible; Be respectful; Be a learner… Not a bad target for adults either).
‘It’s a place that lets people be themselves, and where it’s obviously ok for that to be the case.’
The culture at our facility has grown fairly organically, and so while it’s similar to what I like, it’s not exactly the same, because other people and personalities have a say in what goes on.
I like that my clients and trainers get to set the agenda and that the facility is a reflection of all of us. Whether it’s the weird rowing machine in the corner that Matt and Nick brought in, the quotes Paul writes on the board most weeks, or the random knick-knacks that people donate and put around the place. It’s a place that lets people be themselves, and where it’s obviously ok for that to be the case.
We all have similar goals — or at least they seem to run fairly concurrently. We want to grow old well. Moving well as you age and being able to use the toilet unassisted for as long as you live are pretty massive wins, and I believe that now is the time to start setting myself up for that. Don’t get me wrong, I like to lift heavy things and to do fun tricks with my body, but if I have to choose between that and aging well, I’m going to forego the tricks.
‘QKB is filled with people collectively striving for best practice for strength and movement for the long term.’
Fortunately, by approaching training with a consistent and conservative approach, I can safely, and effectively, get both. In his new book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how people will always get better outcomes long term when they are focused on becoming instead of achieving. By becoming something different, you’ll still achieve things, but you’ll do it by making choices in line with who you want to be, rather than responding to a simple, temporary, external stimulus that will fade from memory and cease to be particularly helpful will hold no sway on you in the long term. Someone who views themselves as a “runner” has a different mindset to someone who just wants to run a marathon. And it really comes into play once the marathon is over…
For me, the person that I am becoming is someone who moves well, is pain-free, and is strong enough for whatever challenges life throws at me. That person isn’t someone who stops doing things once they get a double bodyweight deadlift, an amazing handstand or the ability to smoothly and painlessly get off the ground; it’s someone who trains regularly, has good mental health and makes wise decisions. I want to be that guy.
So where does QKB come into this? QKB is a community that lets me be myself, keeps me in touch with people that know me and who are interested in my wellbeing, and is filled with people collectively striving for best practice for strength and movement for the long term.
The cultural norms that are in place at QKB: rocking up on a regular basis, talking to the people around you (not just about training things), and making decisions that prioritise long-term outcomes let us stack the deck in our favour.
‘Our people do impressive things, but they are absolutely everyday people.’
We know that if people are a part of the group on a regular basis, they will get great outcomes. We’ve seen plenty of people diminish their body’s discomfort by improving their everyday posture and quality of movement. And we get regular feedback that the environment is one that people look forward to coming into at the end (or beginning) of the day.
Our people do impressive things, but they are absolutely everyday people. They do these things because they have become our kind of people. People who show up, have a go, and look out for each other. They don’t do the impressive things because that is the goal, but because someone who is healthy and constantly improving their strength and movement over time just becomes darn impressive.
At the end of the day, we hit our goals best when we change the way we view ourselves, and this happens best in the context of a community. At QKB we like to focus on strength and movement in a way that supports our long-term health, but that might not be your jam, and that’s ok. If it does sound like something that appeals to you, drop us a line at email@example.com or consider one of our beginner workshops.