The fitness of the new millennium combines functional, varied training with the superior health-building and recovery powers of a healthy plant-based diet. Combining these factors in a successful San Francisco fitness business is Darren Middlesworth of PlantFit in San Francisco.
After finishing a BS in Exercise Physiology at UC Davis, Middlesworth moved to San Francisco and started RazorFit Training, a sports-performance fitness training business. In 2005, after 20 years of experience working in the health and fitness industry, Middlesworth reached the conclusion that our health and fitness is connected to the bigger picture of the deteriorating health of our environment and our failing health care system. His company PlantFit, with a focus on plant-based fitness, evolved out of this understanding.
I recently caught up with Middlesworth which gave me a chance to ask him a few more questions about PlantFit, starting with an elaboration of the foundation of his approach at PlantFit, the Four Pillars.
LM: Describe Four Pillars of the PlantFit Training approach.
DM: The Four Pillars underscore the roles of personal and social responsibility as import elements of fitness.
- Taking charge of your personal health. To understand how diet and lifestyle choices impact your health and physical fitness.
- Taking responsibility for your personal impact on the health of the planet. To lead by positive example. To train hard and but tread lightly.
- Taking real and immediate action toward minimizing animal suffering. Adopting a win-win attitude by stepping out of the viscious cycle of animal agriculture and it's destructive path.
- Empowering others through simple lifestyle choices. To gain exposure to related programs and projects. A couple of examples, are the Food Empowerment Project (foodispower.org) and A Well Fed World (awellfedworld.org)
LM: Does someone have to be vegan or commit to going vegan overnight to participate in PlantFit training?
DM: No, not at all. Life is a journey and your health and happiness is an ever evolving process of self-discovery and adventure. All you need is an open mind and a little curiosity.
LM: What is your approach to help people transition into the PlantFit method and plant-based eating?
DM: On the training side, the focus is on making fitness accessible, effective and fun - run a mile with smile, or walk, jog, roll or crawl. But don't get the wrong idea, hard work with the right approach should be fun! This is where time efficient, high intensity interval training and Tabata training (short, timed circuits) come into play. On the nutritional side, by taking small, positive steps. For example, replacing one animal based meal with a plant-based meal a day. Focusing on adding the good stuff and expanding the palate without harboring a single negative thought about any other philosophy or nutritional approach.
LM: How would you describe the PlantFit training method?
DM: The foundation of PlantFit training is natural human movement. Training is outdoors and incorporates training in the hills and stairs of San Francisco with a focus on injury-free running and the full range of body weight movements. Having fun in the natural elements: fresh air, sun, wind, the occasional drizzle (and of course the San Francisco fog!)
PlantFit offers personal training, corporate fitness, and performance nutrition.
More about Middlesworth and PlantFit at www.PlantFit.com.