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Interview: Roger Frampton – Model, Fitness Coach and Author of ‘The Flexible Body’
November 7, 2017
I recently caught up with fitness coach and model Roger Frampton, who can often be found working on his structural poses for his self-created ‘Frampton Technique’, which is very unlike me; I’m somewhat representative of a drunken Bambi on ice at the best of times. I’d heard about Roger Frampton’s ten-minute method and as I’m keen to get fitter and more toned (you may remember previous mentions of my attempts to defy aging), it seemed the perfect way to find out how I can get started. Once I’d gathered myself off the carpet and decided the headstand was a bit ambitious for the first day, it was time to crack on with the questions.
Hi Roger, you’re famous for the body weight technique of fitness; can you give us a short description of what it is?
Hi. Thanks for having me. Of course. I guess the most simplistic way for me to describe ‘The Frampton Method’ would be to say, The Frampton Method is re-teaching ourselves to move our bodies in ways that are congruent with our biological function or in a simpler way: to teach ourselves to move like we once could.
How did you decide on ten minutes a day for the work outs?
We live in a world which is full of distractions and where people are spending more and more time working and occupied with day-to-day life.
We worked out there are around ten minutes of advert breaks in an hour of TV, so the ten-minute idea gives people the challenge to spend those breaks taking care of their bodies; without needing any equipment means it’s something that everybody can participate in.
What’s your favourite way to spend a spare ten minutes? – you can’t say work out.
Haha. Ouch! Now, that’s not fair!
You see when I’m doing ‘movements’ I don’t see it as working out. I see it as moving in a way that I’m designed to move in. So, I might be squatting on a train replying to emails or sitting crossed legged watching TV or at an event practicing my standing stance. I’m still fully focused on whatever I’m doing but I am also aware of the position of my body at the same time.
So, based on the above, my favourite way to spend a spare ten mins is taking care of my body for the long term whilst doing whatever I love to do. Like eating chocolate or drinking a can of cream soda.
With the shift to more and more people doing jobs that see us chained to desks, what can we do to improve our posture and fitness while at that desk?
Great question. I’ll answer your question with a question for you. How do you know when you are stretching? Well, the only way you know that you are stretching is that you feel the sensation of a stretch. If you feel a stretch you are stretching.
Now by using the knowledge that if we feel it we are doing it, instead of feeling that we are chained to our desks, as we sit we can move our bodies into positions that will reverse the long-term damage caused by repetitive sitting, simply by finding points where we feel stretches.
You’ve modelled for fifteen years for some of the biggest labels on the planet; do you feel nervous before shows and how do you deal with nerves?
Honestly, I feel nervous before every show and especially before I’m about to give a talk.
To calm the nerves, I remind myself that this is a very natural thing that I’m feeling, that everything that I’m worried/ nervous about is unlikely to ever happen and that it’s impossible to predict the future – which is what your body is trying to do – and that I need to bring myself back to the task at hand like watching cats falling over on YouTube to distract myself.
Have you ever turned up for a show and seen that you will have to wear an outfit that is so bad you wince?
Yes. A tiny piece of underwear [laughs]. You just get on with it or you choose not to do the job. Personally, I signed up for modelling. I knew exactly what it entailed. Now get out there and get on with it. But really, to all the younger models out there, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, just say no!
We’ve all been there – you have a gym membership, you go for a while but enthusiasm starts to dip and you leave bigger and bigger gaps between sessions. Do you think that the home workout method you’ve developed can beat the blocks people put in the way?
Over the years I’ve taken into account the top reasons for people ditching their gym membership:
– Time (Amount of time needed for training)
– Money (Cost of a gym membership/ Physio)
– Distance (Time, cost and effort to reach location)
– Equipment (Equipment needed to exercise)
Now, I’ve taken care of the top reasons that people have for stopping training, I hope that they find the courage to continue to take care of their bodies.
Does The Frampton Method actually not only help people get fit, but give back that most precious of commodities, time?
It does. Although there is also a bigger time benefit at play. Two thirds of seventy-five year olds are suffering from chronic disease caused by sedentary living. The sad fact is we’re living longer than we’ve ever lived but are more likely to retire in a care home or dosed up on pharmaceuticals. So yes, you’ll save time in the short sense by training less and super efficiently but in the long term is where you’ll really see a payoff.
I believe we should be able to spend the latter years of our life pain free and with full function of our bodies.
Have you ever skipped ‘leg day’?
Well, the way I see it, is my legs are ‘included’ in everything I do. I see the body as one organism that works together as one, so based on that I can happily say I’ve never skipped leg day.
Is the pommel horse as dangerous as it looks? I think I’d end up spending more time on the ground than I did on the horse. Have you ever ridden a real horse?
I’ll be honest. I’ve been on horses as much as I’ve been on pommel horses –once or twice for both. What the pommel horse does though is give you more space to leverage your body, although the technique of what Olympic gymnast’s do on the pommel horse would need some time to pick up.
For me, the more you can get used to working on the floor the more challenging the training becomes as you run out of room to leverage your body, and also, who can fit a pommel horse into their front room?
Has the growth of men’s fashion and fitness gone hand-in-hand – each industry helping to grow the other?
I’d say men’s fitness has always been there, although what I’ve seen is a shift in the type of bodies men are aspiring to. When I was younger it was all Arnie, Stallone and Snipes, now it’s Statham and Hardy. A slimmer buff physique seems to be the go-to then the larger physique I grew up around, which is great for all because not only can you train at home you can train in your hotel room when travelling without needing access to a ton of weights.
Alan appears on your Instagram occasionally and is a ridiculously cute dog; will your follow-up book be Dog-A, with the pair of you appearing for the exercises?
[Laughs]. Awww, Alan. You raise a good point though. One of my key messages I discuss is the power of distraction. Let’s be honest, sitting in uncomfortable stretches isn’t most people’s favourite thing to do. However, when you have a big fluffy, dopey, playful ‘Alan’, it’s an awesome distraction from the stretches. We haven’t quite finalised plans for the follow-up yet, but when we do, I promise he’ll get himself a credit.
You’ve done a TED Talk; how did it feel to be able to reach out to such a huge audience?
I really had no idea that the number of people viewing that talk would grow to around two million, but also, I’m not surprised. Every person I trained the years prior to that talk told me that I didn’t work like any other trainer – that my message was different and that it was like I was speaking a completely different language. It feels amazing that the TED Talk is able to spread the message of movement to the world and my hope is that the book is the action step that people take to really incorporate the message into their lives. After all, talk is cheap!
And finally, we all have one, what’s your guilty pleasure?
That’s easy. Food!
I eat what I want, when I want. Just in case you thought that was a typo. I EAT WHAT I WANT, WHEN I WANT. The catch is, it’s within an eight-hour period of the day.
One of the reasons The Flexible Body took some time to come to light was because most of the publishers I met were intent on discussing nutrition in the book. For me it was really important that the book didn’t include some boring diet plan that discusses protein and good fats and la, la, la and we just keep the focus of this book on how the body moves best.
When I met with Pavilion, they really believed in me and were happy for me to keep it real. Really guys, I don’t care what you eat; the emphasis and the message is purely how we move!
If you’ve enjoyed the interview, Roger Frampton’s book The Flexible Body will be out on 4th January.
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Read Ross Pollard’s interview with master barber, Joth Davies here.
Photographs of Roger Frampton by Joseph Sinclair
Photograph with Alan from Instagram