Profile: Movement Coach Gavin Broomes
When I had the idea for this series, my primary goal was to introduce you to some amazing movement coaches from around the world. My hope was that you would learn from them about movement, philosophy, and life in general, as well as get a feel for what kind of qualities to look for in a movement coach, personal trainer, physical therapist, Yogi, etc. More importantly, I want you to be as inspired by their stories to move more, move often, and move well. The coaches I already have or plan to profile are colleagues and friends who I following socially and have been learning from for years. What I am finding, as a profound secondary benefit for myself, is how much I am learning about these coaches too, their movement theories and philosophies, as well as movement in general. They are my teachers, too. This profile on movement coach Gavin Broomes is no exception.
Introducing Movement Coach Gavin Broomes
I am excited to introduce Gavin Broomes B.Sc., FTMA(c). Gavin is originally from Canada and is currently living in Argentina. He is a Neuro-Rehabilitation Specialist and Movement Analyst specializing with children with Cerebral Palsy and other disorders of movement and posture. Gavin is a highly regarded and respected coach and educator within the natural movement community.
I was originally introduced to Gavin through Rafe Kelley of Evolve Move Play a couple years ago. And reintroduced again through Ben Medder and Astrid Boesser of Monkeyfit (you can view Astrid’s movement coaches profile here).
Gavin has worked almost 25 years in health, fitness, and physical rehabilitation. His experience extends from clinical sports medicine clinics, high-performance training, and rehabilitation with professional and Olympic athletes. However, his current passion is working with children with Cerebral Palsy and other movement and posture disorders.
Movement Coach Gavin Broomes is a truly special kind of movement coach, and I don’t say this lightly. Anyone who works with children, especially children with disabilities is incredibly special. It has been my experience that those who work with special populations tend to have an immense sense of humility, empathy, compassion, and grace. Gavin has these qualities in spades. If you take a look at his website The Fascia Therapy Blog, you will quickly see how he takes the focus off himself and dives into the heart of teaching and learning. The story of how Gavin went from working with high-level Olympic athletes (the level that most movement professionals dream or strive for) to special needs children is fascinating and speaks volumes to his huge heart.
He was working at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada in the Exercise Science department as an anatomy lab instructor and Strength and Conditioning course instructor. In the summer of 2006, the department was going through budget cuts and he was told his contract would NOT be renewed.
He received a call from a private clinic in east end Montreal offering an interview for a job working exclusively with children and individuals with neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders (Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc..). He accepted the offer. As it turned out, the job was actually fascinating, engaging, and incredibly challenge. As Gavin states, “although the choice to change my professional trajectory had it’s genesis in an external factor, it turned out to be the most influential ‘stimulus” to my continuing education and learning…when we see the body at it’s most fragile (I work with the most severe cases), we get a greater understanding of the fundamental necessities for human life, physical robustness, and systemic health.”
An interesting “plot twist”, after accepting the job he received word that the university decided to renew his contract…but he had already committed to this new job and was already hooked and engaged!
“I have seen the most exceptional of athletes as well as the most profoundly weak individuals (even worked with children who were less than 1 month old and fit in my hand…a wonderful and priceless perspective!!”
Most of the movement coaches I follow have very similar movement philosophies. However, we all have a very different perspective, language, experience, and education from which we derive our philosophies. Gavin has a highly intellectual understanding of human movement. He has a movement language that can shoot over the brow of many movement coaches as well as any laymen movers, but the essence of his movement philosophy is quite simple, yet incredibly meaty. He sums it up this way:
- Movement is not a part of life nor a “way” of life…it IS life.
- When you understand the evolutionary perspective (or WHY we are engineered the way we are) of movement, then the WHAT and the HOW become infinitely clearer.
- Movement is not “something you do”… it is most certainly an EXPRESSION of self. Therefore, there is no true “wrong way” to do things.
If you are at all familiar with me or this blog, you know how much these three points above resonate with me. It is my life’s purpose to grow into the best physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually healthy version of myself possible and to serve others following a similar path. I believe that to experience optimal health we must learn and embrace everything that makes us human. We evolved in a very specific way to thrive in our environment. As our environment has changed, it has changed how we move and express ourselves as humans beings. Every moment we sit at a computer, television, or in a car we are losing a little piece of what makes us human… We lose a little bit of our humanity. This doesn’t mean we have to ditch our modern technology. It does mean we have to make a conscious effort to reconnect with the essence of what makes us human.
One of the things I love about movement is that it transcends the physical. Humans are multidimensional beings. We have physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual levels. The language of movement has the same meaning no matter which level you are speaking of. If you are tight, restricted, rigid in the physical plane, you are experiencing the same intellectually, emotionally, and more importantly spiritually. If you want to feel fully, express fully, love fully, you have to move well on every level. Movement IS life. It is not “something that you do,” it is the very expression of who you are in every moment.
Gavin’s movement evolution came from the realization that the more conventional or traditional methods of “being fit” were deficient at addressing the practical challenges of the “aging population.” Basically, as he got older, he realized there was more he could and needed to do to not “just be fit and healthy”, but also fully thrive. This mindset spurred an evolution in his coaching and teaching as well. If movement is life, moving more means living more. Since movement is an expression of self, moving more leads to greater knowledge and expressibility of self. In order to be a fully vibrant, thriving human being, you must continually move and adapt your skills as a human mover.
The most profound shift Gavin sees in his clients is in their overall approach to health and exercise. The straightforward re-connection to nature and natural movement transforms movement from what previously may have seemed like a chore, “I have to workout,” into a lifestyle shift that is actually pleasurable to do, “I get to move.” If it is a habit and is pleasurable, then it simply becomes part of your fabric.
Movement Coach Gavin Broomes finds that his clients face the biggest hurdle as they move through what is essentially a major “paradigm shift” in mindset. In other words, it is hard to get past the idea of needing gyms, fitness clubs, weights, sets, and reps in order to tap into the physical resources we already have. The concept of efficient and effective physical health derived outside of the traditional mainstream fitness industry is difficult to fully embrace at the beginning. To help them get through the shift, he pushes them to just experience it; once they have the “visceral” experience of moving in nature, they quickly develop the intrinsic understanding that “hey, this is good and it’s fun.”
Shaped by His Movement Environment
Being a profound nature lover, Gavin tends to gravitate towards the rural and urban landscape. His philosophy is squarely rooted in randomness, variability, and volatility, which requires that he seeks out those locations and “equipment” (trees, rocks, walls, fences) that manifest those very characteristics.
The environment essentially dictates the “plan for the day.” Whether it be the specific location or the weather, the randomness of nature presents a unique opportunity to work through those intangible “skills” (physical and mental adaptation to change). Which, when you think about it, is perhaps the most important metric to our everyday lives–how well we adapt to gradual or random changes in our immediate environment (whether they be physical, emotional, social).
There is so much more about Gavin I would love to add to this profile. In fact, I cut out a ton to keep this readable and digestible. Gavin has a couple of really interesting projects he is working on. He is currently offering some private coaching, generally within the context of injury rehab. He is working on a project for next summer that uses movement and the natural environment as a catalyst to mitigate the effects of PTSD for urban responders (fire, police, military, paramedic). Be sure to follow Gavin below and if you’re not a subscriber to this blog, do so now. I’ll keep you updated.
Movement Coach Gavin Broomes Bio
Gavin Broomes is a graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada (1997) with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a specialization in Athletic Therapy. He is the creator and co-founder of Fascia Therapy which is a neurorehabilitation concept as well as the GBM Method which implements innovative approaches to performance and injury rehabilitation. Adding to 24+ years of professional practice, Gavin has been fortunate enough to have worked closely with people along the entire spectrum of physical aptitude ranging from the elite athlete to the most severe manifestations of movement disorder such as Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Sclerosis. Gavin got the “teaching bug” during a brief stint at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada as an anatomy lab instructor for 5 years which has continued to manifest itself in the varied teaching and educational workshops he provides to this day.
How to find Movement Coach Gavin Broomes
- Gavin’s neurorehabilitation presence is accessed through his blog: www.thescienceofphysicalrehabilitation.blogspot.com
- To connect with Gavin’s movement presence check out his Facebook page — Integrated Movement Practice https://www.facebook.com/groups/268918139948433/