Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do. I’m a Haitian-born, Brooklyn-bred husband, father and fitness entrepreneur with a fondness for dinner parties, travel, art, design and jazz.
Your life is centered around movement and fitness. Have you always been immersed in this world? Since adolescence, fitness in all its forms has been my personal escape and therapy. I was the rare football player who joined the ballet program, and I bring that eclecticism to my current practice. When I lived in Paris, I saw the entire city on roller-skates. Later, I discovered massage and banya, which are essential to my self-care regimen and which I incorporate now into my work with clients.
Describe what your training method looks like. What would a session with you entail? When my daughter was born, watching her changed my way of thinking about fitness. I was blown away by the sheer primal essence of how she moved, and I saw an opportunity to help others connect to that intrinsic power. Now, I organize movements into 10 functional groups based on early kinetic development: how to balance, sit up, stand up, walk, run, jump, climb, reach (stretch), lift and throw. I call it “The 10 E’s,” short for “essential” movements. Depending on your level, I tailor each exercise to be just challenging enough. My focus is on correcting form and breathing, not just counting reps. Usually, I break sessions up into five 10-12-minute sets: core, cardio, strength, flexibility and massage. To engage the imagination and reduce the perception of difficulty, I turn each set into a story or game, and I always mix it up. The results are amazing, even with older people and those new to training. I help clients do more and to enjoy it more than they expect.
What do you think is the best scenario for a fit mind and body in terms of a weekly routine? It depends on your goals. At minimum, get your heart pounding for at least 12 minutes three times weekly for prevention and health maintenance; four to five times for weight management; and five to six times for higher fitness levels. Weights help build strength and bone tissue, which is especially important for women. Whatever gets you moving, sweating and burning calories is good. High-intensity circuit training and other conventional fitness activities aside, even walking down the street with a bag of groceries can turn into targeted muscle conditioning. My mantra is “when the gym is in your mind, the world is your gym.” No fitness session is complete without recovery and regeneration: enough sleep, rest and pampering; even racehorses get massage, hydrotherapy and relaxing beauty treatments. I help clients understand how to savor the rest time between workouts.
If someone only has 5 minutes, what would you suggest they do to incorporate some movement into their day? Stand up, inhale deeply, reach for the sky, stretch your arms wide, squeeze your butt, touch your toes. If you spend a full five minutes doing this and you can make this happen at your desk, on the street, at an airport, you’ll engage physically and move more consciously throughout the day. Remember: sitting is the new smoking.
Please explain Rolpal, the benefits, the process and why you developed it: RolPal developed out of my own need for strong, targeted bodywork. As a lifelong athlete and trainer, I have old injuries and sore muscles and I need deep work. Unfortunately, massage is expensive, requires an appointment, and it’s not always up to my standards. Since foam rolling works by compressing muscle tissue, it can’t reach deep adhesions and trigger-points. I started experimenting with different materials, textures and densities. Later, I met artist and industrial designer Fabrice Covelli, who was seeking new ways to apply one of his proprietary material processes. Together, we found the right material and texture in platinum silicone, the same material used in high-end commercial kitchens. The lateral movement of the surface bumps grips muscle tissue rather than flattening it, and the therapeutic effect is remarkable. The RolPal handles provide control and application variety. It’s intuitive. My individual and practitioner clients use RolPal for warm-up, tissue prep, injury-prevention, pain-reduction, physical therapy, stress management and spa applications. You can even put it in the freezer for a refreshing roll-out on hot days. I’m most proud of how RolPal is changing how we think about massage: it can, and should, be part of our daily routine, not as an indulgence, but as a key to vitality.
What other activities besides straight-up fitness do you recommend for a healthy mind and body? I think grooming, beauty and relaxation are very important rituals, the delicious middle steps, after fitness and before fashion. My own anti-aging, health and wellness program involves regular spa visits, skin care, massage, cleansing/detox, aromatherapy and herbs. Most important: I go outside, and I find nature wherever and whenever I can.
Your training method is unique and interesting; what do you believe the benefits of your style are and why do your clients come to you? After 25 years of working with all ages and body-types, exposure to diverse movement styles has taught me to listen well and adapt to each person differently. By definition, every client has a custom program. Also, environment matters. We know the manufactured interiors of most gyms are designed for scalability and churn. Instead, I train clients in a private garden, using wood, stone, and not much else; I teach clients to think of fitness as discovery, not routine. Perhaps best of all, at the end of every session, my clients get a massage and so they always leave wanting more.
Are there other movement-based activities that you think are beneficial when married with your technique? Prudent Fitness is more of an approach than a technique, and so it’s compatible with all types of movement systems. My core goal is creating greater range, endurance and physical capacity in life.
Do you have a way of eating that you think is beneficial to training? I go for proper hydration, lean protein and lots of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich carbs: veggies of different colors, in-season, organic and local. I avoid artificial, processed fatty foods and refined sweets.
What does your fridge always have in it? Organic greens, carrots, cucumbers, berries, milk, eggs, multi-grain bread, fresh herbs and lean-protein leftovers. After a recent trip to the Loire Valley, I’ve gotten interested in biodynamic wine.
Favorite place(s) to travel: Paris, London, Florence, Switzerland, Jamaica.
Why should people exercise? Because life is more fun if you feel good.
If you could tell your 20 year old self something, what would it be? Dude, take a deep breath and slow down.