Nam Baldwin has been a personal trainer for over 20 years helping people like Mick Fanning, Pat Rafter and Stephanie Gilmore reach peak performance through his Breath Enhancement Training. He has also worked with CEOs and companies such as National Mortgage Company and Surfing Australia to train staff and bring out the best in people and teams to improve workplace culture.
We often hear the term ‘Mind-Body intelligence’, but Nam’s courses are truly refreshing. He uses a logical and scientific approach to develop peak performance, incorporating emotional as well as physical aspects of the whole person. This approach to training has culminated in the development of his course E.P.I.C., or Emotional and Physiological Intelligence for the Community. Pip Andreas caught up with Nam to find out more.
We see so many motivational programs around these days. How is EPIC different?
EPIC is more educational than motivational and was designed to have people understand WHY they feel or act the way that they do and HOW they can go about making changes where necessary. Once you understand why, it really opens up your eyes to a new way of dealing with things, whether it’s in your own personal thoughts & actions or in your relationships with others. And of course once a trusted source has shown you HOW to make changes you are then more motivated to follow through and better equipped to make those changes for good.
A ‘motivational program’ has connotations of creating change for a brief moment in time. The EPIC course is not a one hit motivational wonder! It is spread out over 6 weeks (Part A) and 7 weeks (Part B), which allows immersion with the content followed by action plans for the week – enough time to change habits in many areas of life, present any challenges and really grasp all the concepts.
If you were to participate in a weekly fitness training class for 13 weeks with a take home action plan each week – can you imagine the changes you would see in your body?! Well this course is exactly the same. It makes a huge difference in people’s lives, just by looking at the inside and educating people on their emotions and physiology, i.e. how their body chemistry influences their life!
As a personal trainer for so many years, do you find mental training more important than physical training for sports people?
At the end of the day, the best of the best definitely have the mental edge and they work very hard for that edge, however I wouldn’t say mental training is more important, they are both very important and one helps the other. For example imagine if you worked tirelessly on your mental training and less on your physical conditioning which leads to an injury; it doesn’t quite work that way.
When training and performing at an elite level, every single element has to be in focus; the best out there make sacrifices, there’s no option to leave anything out. Optimum nutrition, fitness and breath training, body conditioning, mental strength, practice, rest; everything needs to be in alignment if you really want to harness everything you’ve got. Understanding and being able to influence what happens in the brain and body is the difference between winning and losing, every time.
The emotional and physiological intelligence needed for peak performance & recovery from a poor performance is greater than you might expect, especially when those performance levels are required over sustained periods of time, such as a world tour or a whole season. We teach rituals and processes which form winning habits, and so once winning becomes embedded in your routine it becomes much easier to keep it going.
At EPIC, we teach the same principles that we teach elite athletes, as each participant is aspiring to be their best self.
You’ve had a lot of success with teaching your BET program for surfers, business people and athletes. Do you encourage clients to focus on the breath to reduce brain chatter and deal with stress (as a sort of meditative practice) as well?
Yes, the foundation of mental performance starts with training the breath to become more consistent and rhythmic, which then allows other processes in the body and brain to operate in a better state. Although I think highly of meditation & practice it myself, I don’t refer to what I teach in BET as meditation, as some people tend to shy aware from the word due to their beliefs.
I simply educate people on how incorrect breathing is challenging the mind and body and then how to use the breath effectively whilst strengthening all the muscles involved.
People who enrol in your course would already have the desire to succeed, but arguably the most difficult part of the EPIC course would be about how to maintain motivation long term. Without giving away too much, what are a couple of tips to help keep up the motivation to succeed?
Without a doubt, consistent motivation is more easily achieved when you take care of your ‘chemistry’ i.e. the state from which your mind and body is operating. So you need to understand the key things that influence your chemistry, in both negative and positive ways. These include what and how much you eat and drink, how and when you exercise, sleep quality, your relationships and your ability to manage your emotions. A big tip is to ‘start at the start’ and by this I mean looking at the things you do when you first wake up and determining if they are producing the right chemistry to support motivation.
My other tip would be to remember why you started – people come to EPIC for all sorts of reasons. Some people are just interested in learning new skills, to be happier or more fulfilled by their job or their relationship. Some people may have hit a rough patch, whilst others are thirsty for more from life. Remembering what motivated you to start in the first place will quickly remind you just how far you’ve come, and give you the motivation to keep going!
Were you always a motivated and driven person?
That’s a hard question to answer! Was I always driven to do something with my life? Yes absolutely.
Did I always know how to do it? Definitely not! But I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I just didn’t know what I know now, which is how to create the right state for motivation and how to channel my energy in the right direction to succeed and feel better about myself and what I do. After learning how to create the right state, what has helped me the most was to learn about my values. I have now known these for a very long time, it’s part of what I teach in EPIC and it helps me to stay on track when I have a lot on my plate. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning. My passion has always been to share what I know with others and the more I learn, ultimately, the more I can teach. What motivates me today is completely different to what motivated me in years gone by and it’s why you must continually work on yourself. I continue to learn about myself, and my values have developed and changed along the way.
If that is not someone’s personality, should they adapt your course to their own individual personality?
EPIC is already written so that each individual can make it their own. It teaches individuals to uncover their own identity, values and needs, and in doing so they immediately understand the areas they may like to work on, using the course as a guide.
If someone isn’t motivated and driven it cannot be entirely attributed to their personality, it’s often due to the ‘story’ they have been telling themselves for some time. A lot of people are under the influence of others and are not being their true and authentic selves, so the EPIC course encourages people to identify and drop unhelpful/negative beliefs and start adopting new ones, which will allow them to feel more motivated, enthusiastic and driven in the parts of their life that create the greatest fulfilment for them.
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The next EPIC course is scheduled for September. For more information go to http://www.equalize.com.au/train/epic/ or call (07) 5530 2566