Life steadfastly conveys to us that discontentment is the springboard of transformation. Oftentimes when everything appears to be going wrong – a health scare, unexpected weight gain or a crushing breakup – we are being called to change. This is life grabbing us by the shoulders, shaking us lovingly and demanding that we reinvent ourselves – that we not merely exist within the pages of our history, but come alive within our stories.
After almost 30 years of studying anatomy and movement, while designing and sculpting bodies all across the globe, 41 year-old London Personal Trainer Hamelin D’abell is convinced that even physical innovations begin within – that inner and outer endeavors are intermingled. They are partners occupying the same space on the dance floor, only an illusion separating them.
More than a year ago, by way of an Internet message board on an ordinary day, I was in search of a form of fitness which would treat my body like a friend. I found exactly that, but even more. Most extraordinarily, I realized I was on a journey of self – a quest light years beyond the achievement of feeling sexy in backless dresses and bikinis.
While D’abell’s movements carve out astounding muscular lines while infusing my skin tone with an inexplicable glow, what he does for my mental and emotional state is something I chase – unfruitfully – to justifiably describe.
Created from his well of knowledge in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, aerobics and classic Lotte Berk, every movement spins a sacred web of connection, centering and grounding, while extending an invitation to become fully present within myself. Every bend, plié, pulse and reach forms an incantation for silencing my brain chatter and remembering the truth of who I am: a dynamic being engaged in a gorgeous dance with life. I now know that through every dip or fall, I can always return to my barre or mat and find my solid ground.
In the following interview, I embarked on an inquisitive stroll through the fitness expert’s brain, exploring his knowledge and perspectives on balance, mindfulness, Ayurveda, the role of small muscles, the prevention of injuries and the fascinating resiliency of our bodies.
If life is beckoning you to change, do not turn a deaf ear to its call. Continue reading for why transformation is possible for anyone…
(Psst. As always, consult with your physician before embarking on a new fitness journey!)
D’abell Debunks Common Misconceptions About Fitness
To begin, I asked D’abell to step up to the mic for the purpose of debunking a few common misconceptions about fitness. He is amped and tuned to enlighten you…
Myth #1 “Intensity Is the Key to Body Transformation.”
D’abell: “Intense workouts have their role in fitness, but they are not the key. Some body types will benefit from High Intensity Training, but it can be too stressful on the system for others. Regardless, it is important for all to incorporate slower-paced and controlled formats of movement. This is the only way to build up their stabilizing muscles, improve movement awareness and get a proper foundation in terms of form and functionality.”
Myth #2 “Cardio Is a Must if You Want to Lose Weight.”
D’abell: “The correct formula for cardio and toning is extremely different for everyone, which is why my custom clients see such fast results; I cater to exactly what their bodies are asking for. For example, those with hormone imbalances or chronic fatigue are begging for more calming, restorative types of exercise – the kind that will elevate the heart rate and keep them steady while never exhausting them.
Many, many people will be surprised that they will lose unwanted weight with more meditative types of exercise.”
Myth #3 “There Is No Way to Reshape the Waist.”
D’abell: “I’m a great fan of the more detailed and isolated waist work, which many trainers are neglecting as of late. When the tiny muscles in the waist are challenged and pulled in, the entire body looks more symmetrical and elongated. It is entirely possible to create changes in the waist with isolated muscle work.
I often teach my clients this little trick: When doing waist work, truly engage the abdominals. This way you’ll work the waist and the abs at the same time.”
Myth #4 “You Don’t Have to Enjoy Your Workout; Just Get It Done.”
I believe we should absolutely gain freedom and pleasure in our workouts. We should move in a way that empowers and inspires us; not in a way that makes us crazy, dreadful or frantic. Movement creates a feeling of inspiration – an emotion meant to nurture us and make us more of who we really are. We become our most authentic selves through movement.”
HDM: A Transformative Journey of Self, Through Movement
I asked Hamelin the scoop on a range of subjects – including his personal care practices, the secret to achieving a beautiful skin tone and little-known fitness innovations.
The Daily Doll: As a personal trainer with a thriving career stretching across more than two decades, you have spun webs of movement to design bodies ranging from the famous to the obscure, as well as the overweight to the already-fit. What has been the most jaw-dropping transformation you have witnessed?
D’abell: “I wish I could give you one person, but that would not be accurate or fair. The truth is they all transform in shocking ways, but in the ways they uniquely need. And, while the changes are always seen physically, they go far beyond that.
I have witnessed clients begin to recover from years of depression and trauma. I have seen them change careers and leave unhappy marriages. And, I have always seen them get their power back. The physical changes always shock everyone else in the pictures, but I get to see the most special and unbelievable changes of all.”
The Daily Doll: You are steadfast in your stance that transformation is possible for anyone. How would you encourage someone who deeply longs to make dramatic life changes, but has lost hope in their possibility of doing so?
D’abell: “The mind is trained from a very young age to think that life moves from one worry to another or from one pain to another – never from one joy to another. Start placing more focus on the joys in life and remember them.
With my years of working with individuals of all ages and walks of life, I know this: No matter where you are or what you look like, you’re not the finished product. You are just the seed. Let go of limitation, begin to train your mind and body differently, and you will find miracles on a daily basis.”
The Daily Doll: You are devoted to the principals of Ayurveda, and incorporate them into your daily personal life as well as personal consulting with clients. Tell me about this.
D’abell: “Almost everything I do is rooted in Ayurveda. The way I wake up, how I move, personal care habits, as well as when and what I eat, all conform to these principles. My herb supplementation is also based on my constitution (dosha), and the same goes for my monthly and seasonal Ayurvedic treatments such as Panchakarma (cleansing) and Abhyangha (massage).
Much wisdom is found in Ayurveda, and it is all about developing inner and outer balance so that one can achieve optimal health and happiness internally and externally. For example, one whose constitution is Pitta will not need to do too much cardio. This person already has a lot of heat, so they need to focus on exercises which will challenge them yet not overexert them.
I have just released a personalized lifestyle program package called HBliss. One of the core components of the program involves the client undergoing an in-depth consultation with an Ayurveda doctor via Skype.”
**Editor’s Note: If you’re new to Ayurveda, I recommend the following resources:
The Daily Doll: Tell the reader more about your new program, HBliss. Who was it created for, what makes it special and what are its components?
D’abell: “This is incredibly powerful, and is the first program of its kind. It was created for the individual looking for a deep change in their life, or perhaps eager to reach the next level with my method. The goal of the program is to create a calm, positive mind and a healthy, balanced body. There is customized cardio, toning, Yoga, detoxification, chakra balancing, and breath work.
At this time, the package is limited to 10 people on a first-come, first-serve basis. People can pre-sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The Daily Doll: Your intuition about the human body – and, more specifically, the movements it needs – is keen. It is as though, when creating content, you are tapping into something beyond yourself. What is your process of creating content; does it seek you, or do you seek it?
D’abell: “I have naturally always been in sync with movement. I see movement in structure, music, design and color combinations in clothes. I can design a workout based on a piece of music.
In 2006, something shifted in me. I began focusing more on the way minimalist designers such as Jill Sander, Calvin Klein and Celine created specific emotions through their clothes. All aspects of their shows – from the sleek, toned down colors of the clothes to the space utilized – created a specific feeling. Capturing a specific emotion – that is what I’m after in my workouts. People want tailored results, but they also want a unique experience.
With my toning workouts, there is the meditative aspect of silence and self-observation, whereas my cardio becomes more of a euphoric celebration of endorphins.”
Hamelin D’abell Method: The Body-Changing Workouts
This realm of D’abell’s method is his most bright and spirited variety. If workouts coordinated with seasons, CardioTone would be a spring morning. The energy is inviting and peppy, but never complicated, dizzying or punishing. Although you will be collecting beads of sweat across your flesh, you are not at risk of collapsing or puking over the toilet following a session.
The Daily Doll: CardioTone is a cult favorite among many of your clients. Enlighten the reader about what it is.
D’abell: I have customers all over the world who consider CardioTone to be their “happy workout.” Think of it as a two-in-one workout: you get fat-burning cardio and upper body toning at once. CardioTone is mid-intensity, which means it is challenging but not at all exhausting.
The Daily Doll: Who will benefit most from this workout?
D’abell: People with joint issues swear by it because the choreography is not at all complex and there is hardly any impact. CardioTone is primarily great for fat loss, as well as shaping and tightening of the arms and shoulders. It will also give you an endorphin boost.
*Equipment Needed: 3-4 pound hand weights and sturdy shoes
Deep Muscle Work
Balletic and elegant, the movements within this series are controlled, polished and rhythmic. I feel pretty and swan-like – almost as though I am in a wooing romance with self. “This workout makes me feel like an Aphrodite,” I recently declared to one of my magazine editors.
But, do not be fooled by its elegance. There is serious pelvic floor engaging and glute activation happening, as well as total-body challenging and fine-tuning. With strong elements of Lotte Berk, beautifully reinvented and woven through the meditative energy of Yoga, there is also a splash of Pilates. I step away from my mat feeling like a tiny, powerful dancer every time.
The Daily Doll: What is unique about your Deep Muscle Work Series?
D’abell: “I like to think of the DMW series as being like taking a fine toothbrush throughout the entire body. I am activating and restructuring all of the small muscles – the ones that surround the larger muscles we often over-activate. This truly achieves a ‘pulling in’ effect.”
The Daily Doll: Why are the deep muscles so important to activate and be conscious of?
D’abell: “The deeper muscles in our bodies create the foundation of the way we move, stabilize and carry ourselves through life. Strengthening them makes you strong and sturdy without any of the ‘bulk.’
Deeper muscle work is about creating a body that is lithe and toned, yet solid and strong at the same time. Many of my clients notice a difference following a single session. Having worked their deeper muscles intensely for possibly the first time ever, they leave the session feeling pulled in, elongated, firm and strong – even taller.”
The Daily Doll: Your method in general, but specifically the DMW series, gives my skin an ethereal glow. Others attest to the same. What is your secret to this?
D’abell: “I create my movements and activate the deep muscles, putting them together in a way that assists with detoxification of the lymphatic system. This detoxification process is a well-kept beauty secret, for it makes the skin all over the whole body look youthful and amazing.”
Blitzmatics: “A Corner Stone of Movement”
Prepare for this series to launch a revolution. In it, D’abell remains true to his traditional method components, while implementing his new studies with The Gray Institute. As of late, new clients are landing in London from Japan to be privately trained on the program. Blitzmatics-lovers, residing across multiple continents, are downloading the workouts at all hours of the day. Because of its growing popularity, D’abell is contouring abs and butts his eyes will never personally see.
The movements are staccato-like with subtle bends that give birth to a new level of bodily awareness. Throughout the workout’s duration, I feel as though my mind, body and spirit are in a dawning of newfound unity.
The Daily Doll: The release of your newest program, Blitzmatics, is shaking up your life – making you a man in high demand. Why is it causing such a stir? What makes it so innovative and powerful?
D’abell: “Blitzmatics is the corner stone in movement education and physical transformation. Not only do I force the student to activate their deeper muscles (which will enhance the ‘pulling in’ effect), but they learn how to move from the right part of the muscles to avoid injury, strain and bulk.
In Blitzmatics, we work within a general slow small range of motion. This makes us aware of the deep isolation in the muscles and how we activate other body parts to stabilize the initial move. This means the entire body is being worked in a way it has never worked before, which can be attributed to the increased awareness. We can work a lot of unique muscles during various moves once we learn how to activate and engage.
Blitzmatics is a a regimen that informs us of our imbalances and, as a result, we become a lot more aware of how we move, or where we tense (muscular tension/breath tension) during movement. Because of this increased awareness, we start to even them out through focus, then establishing balance and harmony.
So far the transformations from Blitzmatics have been incredible, with changes visible in record time. The beautiful thing is that these people never feel wiped out or drained from the workouts; rather, they feel quite energized and rejuvenated. In fact, I have a client with Adrenal Fatigue. Until recently, she was not able to exercise at all. Now she is able to perform 30 minutes of Blitzmatics at a time – due to its calming, mindful and restorative effect on the body.”
The Daily Doll: How is Blitzmatics different from Deep Muscle Work?
D’abell: “Deep Muscle Work is about fine-tuning. It is a waking up and strengthening of tiny parts all over, while Blitzmatics is a broader, overall alerting and restructuring of the body. Blitzmatics is gifting people with a newfound awareness of their bodies – in a way many have never had before. It is a special gift because it alters the way you move about your day. We must remember that we are how we move all of the time.
I feel Blitzmatics is educating people on this, even if they do not realize they are being schooled. My goal is to create a fusion of Blitzmatics and Deep Muscle Work, which I know will be powerful.”
Hamelin D’abell Believes In Your Power and Asks That You Do, Too
As the interview was nearing its conclusion, I asked D’abell to share with me how it feels to be personally responsible for innumerable (and multiplying!) examples of shining transformations. He has created content responsible for reinventing countless men and women of all ages. Truly, he is asking that caterpillars become butterflies.
His response infused me with a refreshing dose of the same hand-over-heart sigh his workouts always provide: “To tell you the truth, Lacey, I don’t really think of myself as transforming anyone. What I am doing is handing them the key. How much more powerful it is to show someone that they have the reigns to transform themselves.”
Editor’s Pick: The Best of Hamelin D’abell Workouts From Around the Web
If you wish to dip your toes into the spring before delving into the briny deep of his transformation process, below are a few workouts I most recommend trying out:
Go to Hamelin’s website for more information on his programs.
Stay tuned for my upcoming feature of D’abell in the Summer 2017 issue of Mirabella Magazine.