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- Fitness and Wellness Fundamentals MasterClass focuses on better health.
- The class is taught by Joe Holder, a Nike Master Trainer and plant-based trainer.
- Overall, I love that the class encourages a holistic, functional approach to movement and eating.
Are you looking to get into wellness, but love where to start? There is a MasterClass to it.
Earlier this year, the educational streaming service released a fitness and wellness basic series hosted by Joe Holder, a former Penn football player, current certified personal trainer, GQ columnist and all-round darling in the fitness and plant-based community. He also has credentials in the field of fitness nutrition, women’s fitness and functional movement as well as the title Nike Master Trainer / Run Coach.
Do not expect only a series of workouts (although there are a few guided workouts included). Holder wants to teach you to think more about wellness more holistically and incorporate nutrition, but also social, emotional, community, spiritual and environmental health.
What is MasterClass?
MasterClass is an online, subscription-based education platform with courses from industry and thought leaders in a wide range of areas, from politics to entertainment. A subscription costs $ 15 / month for the standard plan (more for premium or annual memberships) and gives you unlimited access to streaming classes organized into multiple lessons that can be completed at your own pace.
What it’s like to take Joe Holder’s Fitness and Wellness Fundamentals MasterClass:
MasterClass is great for beginners and offers a way to start thinking holistically about health and wellness. But more experienced fitness and wellness enthusiasts are also likely to learn a few new things.
The whole series is only two hours and 36 minutes long and I personally broke it up over the course of a week. The individual videos — even the workouts — are quite short (the longest is 29 minutes), so it’s not scary at all, nor does it require heavy listing.
The program is based on Joe Holder’s own Ocho System, which refers to his Penn jersey number, but also stands for “one can help others / others can help one.” From this perspective, taking a phone call from a loved one is a wellness activity. Eating more sustainably for the sake of the planet can be a wellness activity.
Working from a broader definition of “health” encourages viewers to move away from the short-sighted goals of many traditional fitness programs that promise a better butt in four weeks, for example. Holder acknowledges that people care about their appearance, but in his words, “Fitness is not the most important part of your health care system.” It is not just a whole body, but an access to the whole of life.
Holder has extensive knowledge of fitness and emphasizes the purpose behind each action. There are three guided training programs in the video series — a mobility workout that mainly includes slow, muscular movements; a HIIT workout that is sweaty but extremely beginner-friendly; and a strength training workout. If you do not have much experience with different forms of training, do not worry- he goes in an easy to follow pace and demonstrates the form of each move. His approach to fitness is unique in that he asks students to think in function, not body parts. Instead of focusing on the core or the arms or the butt, he presents biomotor skills that students can work with: Strength, speed, endurance, flexibility and coordination. And he explains how the different exercises contribute to each of these abilities.
The series does not completely avoid the unscientific tropics we usually see in health and wellness media, especially BMI and weight as an indicator of health. (Holder also promotes the use of smart weights to measure body fat percentage, which I learned is cross-border unwanted science when researching scales earlier this year.) He also encourages you to focus on measurements (weight, but also blood pressure and cholesterol) ), which can be slippery terrain for those struggling with disordered eating.
That said, Holder’s perspective is still much more forgiving than that of many fitness instructors. He urges viewers not to restrict their eating in a way that feels punishing, and to listen to one’s body, even when asking for is a nap. (Or pizza, from time to time.) As he says early in the series: “I’m not going to beat you from a self-loathing perspective about things that are wrong with you, to try to get you engaged in fitness. It is not what I do. “
The series is packed with small, digestible tips and tricks that viewers can pocket, such as how to cook vegetables for maximum nutrition. He also promotes “workout snacks,” which are essentially micro-workout programs you can squeeze into your daily life. One of the later videos dives deep into recovery with the help of Joe’s physiotherapist brother, Dr. Michael Holder, PT, DPT. Together, they explain the different types of recovery after activity, and when and why you want to use them.
Holder also touches on sociality and community as important but often overlooked aspects of health, though he does not dive too deep into the facts and theory behind them. In the accompanying handbook, he shares some interesting information on the link between self-care and social justice for those interested. Maybe he’s leaving most of that material for another course – let me know if that’s the case when I can sign up.
The bottom line
The greatest value of the MasterClass is that it gives viewers new things to think about in terms of health – and positive ways of thinking about them. It emphasizes focusing less on how you want your body to look, and more on what you want it to do – emphasizing that exercise and diet are only two aspects of living a healthy and fulfilling life.