I got to know about Jake through a friend who recommended him highly as someone who knew how to work with injuries, and people who weren’t too young (my friend had had surgery and was in his 40s). I have been running for more than 2 decades now and came of age into the sport in the 00s when barefoot running technology and the ‘forefoot strike’ were things that every sports magazine seemed to be preaching. This worked fine for me for a while, but a few years ago, running long distances just became so much harder, and I didn’t know why. It was quite upsetting. With the Covid-19 lockdowns and the advent of my 40th birthday, I put on some weight in 2020 and it was just impossible to shift – needless to say, Youtube fitness influencers and Zoom exercise classes with no proper instruction were not very helpful. At one point, I was literally exercising every day, sweating heaps and incurring mild injuries along the way. The only thing that changed was the size of my paunch – which was getting bigger and more wobbly as more time went by. Meeting Jake reversed all that, and his expertise on how to run properly (i.e. heel strike within reason, let your body’s momentum and core strength propel you forward) and eat sensibly (i.e. think about food as fuel to keep your body performing optimally) really worked well for me. His running techniques were very good and reversed years and years of poor form on my part, in just a few months. While I might have been able to get away with a poor running form when I was younger, this was no longer possible as I became older, and Jake’s technical mastery of the sport really helped me a lot.
Most importantly, technical proficiency aside, he’s an excellent teacher. He’s able to communicate his ideas about diet and exercise in a way that works for each specific student and is firm and disciplined without being too oppressive. He’s tough but understands the demands of everyday life (such as work and family) and will tailor workouts accordingly. While sympathetic to external stressors, he will not tolerate laziness, which has a great motivating effect overall. One pleasant side effect of the training—which I did not expect – is a healthier psychological relationship with food and diets. Having previously struggled with extreme weight gain and loss, I’m used to seeing delicious food as something to be cut down and minimized while yo-yo-ing back and forth between dress sizes. Jake’s diet advice has given me a better appreciation of the idea of ‘food as fuel’– that while it is still something to be enjoyed, the right combinations of it will also help one’s body to perform better in sports and other fun activities. His diet suggestions also made me realise that I have a gluten intolerance and cutting that out has improved the quality of my sleep, and life in general, greatly.
All in all, it’s only been a few months, but I am (amazingly) running faster than I used to 10 years ago, and more importantly, confidently and without pain or injury. Jake always says he is performance-driven and that vanity does not matter, but as an extremely vain person myself, I would like to add that my clothes also fit a lot better now and my paunch is pretty much gone. All in all, I’m a lot happier with myself than before we started our training sessions and would highly recommend Jake to anyone who is seeking a similar change in their lives.