Jacob Lay: find your weakness and make it your strength
Jacob is the co-founder of Motus Training Studio in Toronto, Canada. As a strength and health coach he works with individuals, small groups and heads the Motus Corporate Wellness initiative, where he facilitates large groups to integrate holistic health tools into the workplace. He is trained in a variety of modalities and tools such as Strength Training, Hormonal based Nutrition, Training in Power Meditation, Muscle Activation, Facial Stretch Therapy and TCM Acupuncture. We sat down with him to find out more about his unique approach to strength, health and dynamic leadership.
1) What is your focus as a coach? How do you define yourself as a leader?
My focus is to work with individuals and organizations in developing a sustainable and healthy relationship with their mind and physical body. My client’s goals often evolve once they start to develop and realize their potential from within their training program. Part of this involves emotional and mental blocks that inevitably come forward, so I focus on a holistic approach that integrates all the aspects of what makes someone “strong”. I like to laugh, bring play into the process and allow people to progressively push them past what they previously thought was possible.
As a thought leader in health and wellness I am constantly redefining what leadership means. I don’t see it as a stagnant position, rather I lead by collaborating with the situations and people I encounter. I find leaders to be unique, inspiring and out of the box thinkers. I’ve always enjoyed functioning out of the box. I tend to get obsessed with something, be it a new diet, workout protocol or metaphysical concept and really take it to the zenith. As a health and wellness practitioner, this often means that the type of knowledge I’m interested in really has little relevance to the average individual. Part of the magic of leadership is being able to translate this complex information to a digestible format that I can share with my clients, so everyone benefits from the knowledge!
2) How did you make the commitment to wellness in your life?
The process of committing to wellness in my life was about really choosing to be well even through at times I didn’t know what that would feel like. Wellness to me is about not just a lack of physical aches and pains but reaches all the way to the emotional, mental, spiritual and social areas. It’s about taking your wounded areas and making them your highest gifting.
In my early 20s I struggled with depression and high anxiety. Physical activity was the one thing that would pull me out of my negative state, but the effects would only last so long before I was back in the rut again. I knew I needed to go deeper and decided I needed a meditation teacher. A week later I was in a Level 1 class with the Training in Power Academy. This began my Spiritual Journey, which launched me onto a path of self-discovery and healing, giving me the tools I needed to build a strong internal foundation. Along with this, I also addressed a lot of nutritional sensitivities that were affecting my mental/emotional state and began getting really healthy over time.
3) What are the greatest obstacles you encounter when coaching people to their health?
When somebody doesn’t want to heal or progress there’s nothing you can do about it no matter how much you might want it as their coach. After all the work I’ve done on myself it’s naive of me to think that everybody else needs to be on the same journey! I have been guilty of carrying people in the past and wanting to rescue them so I can feel good about myself and not have to feel their pain. It is tough witnessing people who for whatever reason abandon their healing process and even their relationship with you. As a coach, it’s important for me to constantly reframe my own mindset to support somebody through even if it means letting them go completely. After all, the road to wellness is a winding road that is unique for each person, I’m sometimes just a short stop along their path to figuring out what works best for them.
4) What strategies do you use to help your clients achieve their goals?
Rather than using a fixed program, I take a very personalized approach with my clients. This means constantly checking in with how they are doing and integrating any changes, concerns or aspirations they are experiencing along the continuum of wellness, their wellness.
For example, someone who has shoulder pain might have it in his or her mind that strength training or any movement will worsen the situation. They are stuck in a static state of pain that is self perpetuating. So we start off light with some basic activation and mobility work and gradually build up until I can see the confidence come back into that area. From there I slowly raise the weight, allowing their body to dictate the progress. After a few sets of stabilizing exercises they often don’t even feel the pain anymore.
In time most people realize their body actually craves movement and it’s the ‘non movement’ that has been holding them back. Strength training will direct the body into correct structural balance whereby your true strength and mobility start to emerge one step at a time. It’s empowering and healing. We work on one goal at a time and it takes weeks to integrate a new habit. This same process holds true with all my corporate client groups, online training and even other coaches I train. Start small, discover your weaknesses, make them your strengths and apply it to life.
Find out more about Jacob at www.motustrainingstudio.com