Profile: Movement Coach Astrid Boesser
This is the second post in a series of profiles on Movement Coaches from around the globe. I’d like to introduce the people who, for me, teach and inspire the culture of movement as a system of wellness and more importantly… growing and thriving in life. You can view the first Movement Coach Profile on Eric Brown here.
I feel like my young son impatiently awaiting a camping trip, birthday, or big holiday. I am super excited about this next movement coach whom I get to profile. She is the embodiment of everything I love about the culture of movement–skill, strength, play, fun, tribe, laughter, and so much more.
Introducing Movement Coach Astrid Boesser
I am thrilled to introduce Astrid Boesser, the plotter, sister, and sarge to a super fun tribe of free, multi-talented monkeys. She is the owner of Monkeyfit in Mörfelden-Walldorf Germany, specializing in playful outdoor training including parkour, play, roughhousing, fighting monkey, movnat, calisthenics, movement games, prehab, and other seriously fun stuff.
I haven’t met Astrid personally (yet). However, if you take a gander at some of her movement videos below and on her website, you will quickly see why I love her style. She has a powerful commitment to supporting and encouraging her tribe to live a joyful, modest, self-paced life. She lives what she teaches and it shows on her face and in her community.
Movement is life! How we think, engage, train, and play as a human mover transcends all aspects of life. If you feel stuck, unmoving, unengaged, unchallenged, unsatisfied, or unfulfilled in life, changing the way you think and explore movement can lead to massive life change. This is why I consider a coach’s movement philosophy to be paramount to the quality of the coach. A good coach doesn’t just provide you with a kick-ass workout, they also provide a learning opportunity for you to discover yourself!
Astrid’s movement philosophy is simple and powerful.
- Rather than chasing results, live in ways that might just yield them.
- Build a broad foundation for physical and mental resilience
- Be prepared for whatever shit comes your way.
- Ability is what you can do now, without warm up, regardless of circumstances, while staying intact.
- Seek out primal over artificial, diverse over monotonous, whole over isolated, elastic over loose.
- Train every aspect – left & right side; front & backline; hard & soft; fast & slow; in & out of alignment.
I absolutely love movement coach Astrid Boesser’s list, especially the first and last bullet points. In our fast-paced culture, it’s easy to become hyper-focused on the “results.” Hitting personal records, lifting more weight, logging in more miles, and just generally striving for more, more, more–the quest for quantity instead of quality. We are only as good as our last lift, race, or event. However, for most people, these “results” don’t offer much if any practical or functional improvements to our life. We build an image of ourselves with eggshells. All it takes is one small injury or accident, the numbers go into the toilet, and the whole thing comes crashing down. True results come from having the practical skills to thrive in all areas life throws at us both good and bad. “Live in ways that might just yield them” is a completely different way of looking at how and why we move the way we do. That is powerful stuff and I’m totally stealing it for myself… and my clients.
“Train every aspect” is equally important. Walk into most gyms and you will see people training within a state of neutral. Everything has to be aligned the “right” way. However, nothing in life happens in this state of “neutral”. Your neutral squat and deadlift may look perfect in the gym, but how do they help you move a couch down three flights of stairs? If you don’t specifically train your body out of neutral, you are not preparing your body for the practical experiences that take place in life. You may be getting stronger at your lift, but this doesn’t exactly translate into getting stronger at life!
This doesn’t mean that squats and deadlifts aren’t valuable, they are. However, through movement coach Astrid Boesser’s philosophy, we get a greater context for how these types of lifts can fit into our larger movement paradigm. It is Astrid’s philosophy of movement that provides her tribe with an opportunity to look for something deeper. What can you add, to how you currently move and think about moving, that would provide some serious soulful nourishment?
Movement coach Astrid Boesser teaches how to change your mindset to become happier, more creative, courageous, and capable. She challenges her tribe to tackle and overcome whatever obstacles life throws at them. That daily life is a series of opportunities to move and play. Not only out in nature, but also as you wait for the train, walk the dog, hang with friends, or with your kids. Rather than feeling bored or rushed, you get to explore the opportunity to play- -squat, hang from a canopy, balance on a curb or rail, or go for a handstand. As children, we are encouraged to play, why not as adults?
Astrid believes that with this shift, formerly disliked chores turn into infinite possibilities to use and expand your abilities. You might start wiping the floor in a low squat, take to hefting home groceries, look forward to heavy gardening, and generally begin to see an upside to any strenuous task or adverse circumstance. You may even feel magically attracted to climbing frames, trees, rails or walls. Next thing you know, you’ll be dragging all your friends along too.
Shaped by Her Movement Environment
Fitness has always been a part of Astrid’s story, but her career really took shape when she chanced upon Erwan LeCorre’s The Workout the World Forgot and saw Thomas Couetdic play on rails like a monkey (in between showing clients how to coach in an unassuming, sane, natural and empathic way. She immediately knew this was what she wanted to do with her life. As she studied, she gained insight and kept learning, about herself, how we all sometimes stand in our own way, and how we can evolve.
What fascinates her about parkour (or any strenuous or risky physical practice) is the mental aspect. The moments you venture beyond comfort, face your fears, learn to manage them, eventually dare and manage something you previously thought you couldn‘t accomplish–that‘s when you regain freedom. It‘s an exhilarating joy and well worth the effort.
When she’s ready to move, she turns to the natural playgrounds around her city: forest, river, lake, station, dunes – using whatever she can find like walls, logs, sand, and tires. Occasionally she brings along toys like sandbags, practice balls (Fighting monkey), sticks, rings, or rope. In locations like the lake or dunes, with their vast reservoir of sand, she practices tumbling or plays with sandbags. Whereas the forest and river inspire her to climb, vault, crawl, balance, and perform jumps across the water.
When she’s coaching a client, Astrid prioritizes a playful spirit and creative vision–she wants each individual to experience joy in exploring and testing his or her abilities. To develop the ability to spot creative opportunities to move, play, and grow. She encourages a growth mindset and the willingness and confidence to change. This requires the ability to use one’s mind to realistically assess their current abilities; analyze what it takes to accomplish what they want; listen to their body, and choose suitable progressive steps to reach their goals. Clients learn to apply positive mindfulness to focus on the details they want to improve. They learn to utilize their breath, regulate their nervous system, and recognize and appreciate each small improvement as an evolution.
As they evolve, they are able to confidently move forward, bravely face, adapt to, or overcome whatever life throws at them. They develop a habit of listening to their heart and creating a balance in life that enables them to live sane, healthy and happy. She encourages all of her tribe to relearn how to play, feel genuine joy, overcome inhibitions, become comfortable being loud and wild, build a community, and most importantly to get dirty!
She enjoys watching as her tribe become happier, healthier, and more self-confident. Seeing their awareness of the positive changes in life. Sharing in their excitement as both physical abilities and body composition and appearance improve. The best part is witnessing how much they get back to loving themselves.
Astrid finds that the biggest challenges new clients face are the mental blocks: low self-esteem, lack of confidence in their abilities, fears, and inhibitions. Occasionally this is paired with high ambition and a lack of patience. Some clients have to let go of being excessively goal-driven, interfering with the experience of how can play help me? And what do I gain in this game?
To help them move beyond these hurdles, she listens and observes closely, spurring some on while reminding others to take it slow. She offers suitable progressions that, while challenging, allow them to manage what they‘re practicing, go out with a sense of achievement, rejoice and gain confidence in the process. She gently challenges folks to face their fears and find ways to step through them… Always, she keeps things fun!
Examples of Astrid Boesser’s Movement Coaching
Grateful for learning from grandparents (plant lore, love of nature), parents (tree lore, fishing, adventurous spirit, self-reliance), competitive cross country skiing (discipline, grit, patience), TaekwonDo (hardness, physics, tolerating pain, managing emotions), Wing Chun (elasticity, whiplash effect), fast pitch softball (coordination, throwing, catching, batting, pitching, teamwork). She studied agricultural sciences (ecology), self-taught: herbal medicine, nutrition sciences, mythology.
20+ years of experience as a partner, group fitness instructor (focus: bodyweight, HIIT, Yoga, Mobility, prehab) as well as web- & printdesigner—earning most of what I need via the latter so I‘m independent and, coaching wise,free to share exactly what I believe in; especially in MonkeyFit.
“I like to learn from everyone, friends, fellows, monkeys, traceurs, coaches; by good or bad example. ;)”
Astrid’s Awesome Movement Workshop
If you are in Germany or able to make the trip, I highly recommend joining one of Astrid’s awesome workshops like this one below.
The next time I am in Germany, I will be making a date to train/play with Astrid. I suggest you do too.