Interview with coach Alberto Marin
For Barcelona-born Biofit coach Alberto Marin, introducing movement-based, bodyweight training with purpose into mainstream fitness has become a life’s mission.
Q: Alberto how did you first get into the fitness industry? What was your path in?
A: I was raised just outside Barcelona so I was always playing outdoors in the forest and climbing trees as a kid, that helped to lay the foundations you could say. I also did a lot of kyokushin as a teenager and then started other forms of martial arts before deciding to study Sports Science at university.
Q: At what point did you move away from what we might describe as a traditional interpretation of fitness towards a movement-based approach?
A: At university I was fascinated by the theories of Complex Adaptive Systems and Motor Praxeology, the holistic science that studies human motor action. I then began to explore alternative methods of understanding the body and movement; I started to see how important the behavioral intention is behind a movement or a motor skill, not just the movement itself and definitely not just the muscles involved in the movement.
Q: How did that affect your own training practice?
A: We created a group of movement fanatics (Muvmentics) on campus and used to meet to research the art of body expression, where emotions were represented by movement. At that time, I was already working as a PT but I still hadn’t found my own style - although I was aware something was missing.
Q: When did the breakthrough come?
A: After finishing my degree I moved to London in 2012 as a way to learn English, that was the key moment as I really started to integrate my theories around movement into my teaching. I was already training a lot outdoors and eventually came across Ido Portal, then I did the MovNat Level 1 qualification and with those two influences suddenly it all started to make sense.
Q: How would you describe your coaching style today?
A: Everything I teach has to be practical, functional, it’s not just about doing an exercise for the sake of it. My burpee is a way to get up from the ground for example; I like to communicate the meaning or intention behind each movement.
Q: You’re also studying nutrition at the moment, how does that fit in to everything?
A: I believe in personalizing a diet to the individual, there is no one size fits all approach. Having said that, my own belief is that the ancestral health approach has the most benefits so I personally follow a primal diet while also recognizing that we live in a different world now to that of our ancestors and we have to adjust ‘paleo’ to the reality of today. It's about being flexible in other words.
Q: Finally how do you see the current state of the fitness industry? Is it going in the right direction in your opinion?
A: There is still a lot to do but we’re moving in the right direction for sure. Functional training and CrossFit are bringing a lot to the industry but we have to keep pushing on to make a real shift throughout the sector with more open space, more toys or 'tools' and generally less machinery in gyms. For me it’s all about bodyweight training and getting outdoors as often as possible.