For fitness to be for life, it has to be functional
Riki Bryan, owner of NYC’s private physical culture club Hard Boiled Holistic, is a fitness lover who hates the gym, a trainer who won’t tell you what to do, and a city dweller most at home in the great outdoors. Growing up a sporty kid in Texas, Riki was occupied with football, soccer, supercross, breakdancing and boxing until his sophomore year of high school when a growing passion for music and dwindling interest in any form of authority, least of all small-town Texas football coaches, led him away from the field and organized fitness. It was only after gaining 70 pounds in his early-20s that Riki reassessed everything from diet and sleep to mental health and fitness. The weight came off, but the life-changing emotional benefits of regular exercise took root. “I knew being active made me a happier person, but I realized the purity of exercise as a form of medicine,” he says. “So many problems can be solved with a focus on sleep, diet and exercise—it really is that fucking simple.”
With a broad fitness goal to be youthful and spry into old age, Riki started an apprenticeship with Greg Rameriz of Gun Club fame (the cult Brooklyn fitness club Rameriz started in his living room in 2013) and worked with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Steve Maxwell before eventually taking over Gun Club and launching Hard Boiled in 2015. “Bodies crave a physical response to life stress and that’s what Hard Boiled is all about,” he says. Located in a small studio in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard area, the 55-minute classes focus on mobility (Riki’s 40 “morning moves” taught at intro classes each Saturday), corrective work, and an intense circuit that changes daily. Work is based on time not reps, so class members control how hard they train and choose to push themselves. But Riki’s thoughts on self-discipline are clear: “Bust your ass in the morning and everything that day will be better.” And while exercise is often used as a release, Riki highlights its ability to bring laser focus—especially for creatives. “Discipline breeds creativity. Sometimes you just have to show up and work your craft, so when you do have the good idea, your skills are sharp to execute it,” he explains.
What’s next? As well as work as a musician and creative director for Fellow Barber, Riki’s long-term vision for Hard Boiled is as a lifestyle rehab. It’s never exercise for exercise’s sake. He explains: “If you have a consistent training practice, you are fit. If you can achieve sustained output or work at 80% of your full potential for 15 minutes, you are fit. You don’t need to attach metrics—I prefer the goal of being able to outrun your kids until they reach high school.”
Equipment Required: None
Movement As Medicine combines 9 maneuvers that have been specifically developed to increase mobility and fitness without the use of any traditional gym equipment. These motions are meant to be built upon and not mastered on your first attempt. Continue to develop the skill required to complete each of these with an 80% effort threshold.
A more flowing and therapeutic / restorative squat — dip into the squat allowing your heels to come up off the ground and driving with the balls of your feet, and landing at the top with your heels. Maintaining a flat back with your eyes forward, swing your arms in sync as to gesture pulling the air into your lungs as you go into the squat and swing forward as to let the air go. See it.
Press your fist into the air overhead as if holding a weight (kettlebell perhaps?) and rotate the feet 45 degrees in the opposite direction. Push the hip out in the direction of the working arm and use the opposite arm to guide your shoulder on the inside of your leg as you lower your torso towards the floor. Keep your eyes on the arm extended overhead, and with an exhale come back up to the standing position. Keep your core engaged, your legs locked and put emphasis on the spinal rotation. See it.
Start in a downward dog position. Keeping your elbows in, dive your nose, forearms and elbows close to the ground without touching and glide in between the hands, pushing the torso up into an upward facing dog. Rock on the balls of your feet while pushing your but up towards the sky to return to the starting position. *to add intensity, push back through the motion from upward dog to down dog — forward/reverse. See it.
Basically a single leg dead lift. With a neutral spine, unlock the knee of the working leg and fold at your hips, lowering your torso towards the ground. Keep the non-working leg extended behind you, and the foot parralel with your head. Try to isolate your hamstrings, glutes and core. Slow and controlled breathing to keep your balance steady, and return to the starting position. Try holding a towel out front as if it were a barbell. Some prefer to counter balance using only one arm, if adding weight (db/kb). See it.
Sit on the ground with legs extended in front of you and press palms into the floor by your hips, with fingers facing forward. Lift hips up off the ground and bend your knees slightly, putting the weight in your heels. Activate your glutes and drive the soles of your feet into the ground bringing your hips all the way up until your torso is flat like a table top, with your eyes looking at the wall behind you. Exhale as you come back down to the starting position. See it.
(gym towel needed) Lying face down on the floor, with your toes pressed into the floor and your knees up off the ground, take your towel in both hands, and fully extend your arms forward. (think hanging from a pull up bar, but horizontally.) Activate your lower back to raise the towel up off the ground, and simultaneously pull the towel apart like you are trying to rip it, then bring it down towards your chin, roll your fists down to isolate your forearms, then roll back it up and press back to the starting position. Maintain zero slack in towel the entire time. See it.
Beginning in the standing position, hinge forward and plant one hand in between your two feet forming a triangle / tripod formation. Kick the same foot as the planted hand in the opposite direction while pivoting on the balls of your planted foot, and lower your hip towards the ground, then reverse the movement, rotating back up into three point stance, then stand. Now alternate sides. See it.
From a standing position, hinge forward until your hands (palms) are on top of your feet. Walk your hands out until you naturally end up in a planking position, then keep walking the hands as far forward as you can while keeping your body off of the ground, then walk them all the way back up to your hands. If you can get your arms fully extended, past the plank position — this is perfection. See it.
Stand in a wide stance. Pivot on the heel of your non-working leg, while lowering into a squat, supported by the opposite leg, then come back up with an exhale. Alternate sides. Think of the non-working leg as a balancing stick. See it.