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Follow This Advice and Change Your Body, and Your Life

From professional athlete to cover model and gym owner, Ryan Botha has experienced both the highs of performance, and the challenges of rebuilding his body. Throughout his career he’s had to come back from sports injury as well as a serious fall, which has made him aware of just what it takes to get back to your best.

Ryan has lived his life through movement, most notably as a local and international professional football player in premier league teams in South Africa, UK, Finland and Turkey. He has also worked as a photographic model, appearing in numerous magazines, including multiple Men’s Health covers. 

For most of Ryan’s career as a professional soccer player he relied on his raw talent and natural strength to carry him through his injuries. But after a potentially career-ending knee injury at 23 years old playing in the Turkish Premier League, he realised he had to address his body issues with more care. And so his fitness journey began. He slowly built up his physio and mobility, while paying attention to his eating and overall diet. Ryan wasn’t the player he used to be, but with the correct levels of movement and care, he was able to play for another eight years professionally, which was a victory in itself.

Another victory emerged for Ryan, which rapidly became his new passion – the love for health and fitness, which transformed his career and took him in a new direction – Ryan the gym owner. Together with a partner, Ryan launched PointBreak gym in Cape Town, which he’s run successfully for six years.

Ryan’s story of movement runs deep and he’s seen the benefits of hard work and consistency. As a trainer he brings passion, commitment and hard work, with no short cuts – he is the ultimate movement warrior. 

Give us an intro to The Movement Empire (TME)?

TME is a platform where we bring the knowledge of training to the home athlete. We remind users of the correct form and different steps to make it slightly easier or harder where needs be. As we get older and start experiencing some aches and pains, we think we should stop training when it’s actually better to train smarter. Don’t stop moving – just learn when to rest!

You’ve experienced a variety of different workout methods, what makes TME such an effective training programme? 

TME is an effective workout because it’s designed to increase strength endurance, mobility and lose body fat. It’s structured as a PT session and we encourage training partners to rather slow down instead of giving up. We show the ‘active rests’ in the workout which allows the user to finish the sessions without feeling like they’ve failed. We constantly encourage the user to step out their comfort zone as that’s where the results wait for them while at the same time showing them alternatives to exercises if they get stuck so they can keep moving , therefore optimizing the session. 

How would you describe your style of coaching at TME? What sets it apart from what you’d get from a personal trainer (PT) at the local gym?

My style as a coach obviously has a sports feel to it because of my background. Every session will be built around foundation (abs) as I believe that’s an absolute essential if anyone strives for optimal fitness. A lot of personal trainers at gyms get lazy with clients or distracted by their phones so the session can lose intensity and form can suffer. What sets TME apart is that there’s a PT fully available in the session constantly motivating while offering form corrections as well as alternatives and a training partner at the same level as the user at home putting the work in for the entire workout. I believe having a training partner shows the user at home that the workout is doable and realistic as the training partner is on the same journey as the user. 

Okay, how does TME work once you press ‘Play’ and start watching the video? What can a first-time user expect? 

The moment you press play the journey with us begins. We immediately show you the total length of the session, broken down to show the length of warm-up, workout and cool down. Mentally I believe that’s massive as the user will know exactly what they’re in for and get their mind around time frames as well as exercises.

The warm-up starts with some mobility-based movements for one round, which is set at an easy tempo and in round two the tempo is increased to get the blood flowing and heart rate up. 

The workout begins and will be anything from 2-4 groupings of exercises – all incorporating some degree of ab work and explosive power. The workouts are designed to get the user moving and thinking less of what’s coming but more of the correct form and putting the work in for the allotted time. TME workouts WILL increase your endurance as well as your strength. How much depends on how hard the user is prepared to challenge themselves.

The cool-down has a little bit of stretching mixed with a yoga feel, allowing the body and mind time to absorb the work that’s just finished as well as injury prevention. 

The trainer will talk you through the entire workout, which I believe is vital because when the user fatigues, the instruction needs to be clear and precise to show them where to go next. 

Coaching points could range from breathing techniques to where your toes should go for correct squat form. Often when someone hits their fitness ‘wall’ they’ll stop and start again tomorrow, but with TME the constant coaching points in those moments will show you it’s okay to rather slow down but keep moving. Motivation to continue is key to ensure you’re not feeling like you’ve failed. There is NO failure at TME, only lateral steps to keep moving forward. 

Does bodyweight training REALLY offer variety? Isn’t just all push-ups and burpees? How do you ensure I won’t get bored?

It definitely offers variety. Yes, there are a lot of push-ups and burpees, but different variations build different parts of the body. When you group various bodyweight movements, the key is to constantly show progression, whether it’s in time or reps.

I’ve managed to keep it interesting and show variation by grouping exercises differently while keeping the session flowing. A push-up today could be a push-up into a mountain climber tomorrow. Today’s burpee is tomorrow's burpee single leg broad jump. The workouts are built around basics and they slowly become more complex with the groupings. Show me a bored person getting results.  

What if I have some questions about my form or the intensity? I have some health issues and want to ensure I keep my heart rate within a certain band.

If you have any questions regarding form just listen to the coaching points throughout the workout and you will know where to go and how to adjust. The intensity of the session will be guided by the trainer and you will constantly be shown a harder version or slightly easier one so you’ll never fall off the pace. If you have heart issues or health concerns, the workout allows you to work at a tempo that’s comfortable for you and manage your heart rate. TME is designed to ALLOW everyone to move within or outside their comfort zones.

What do you believe makes The Movement Empire training plan successful?

The Movement Empire is no ordinary training plan with ordinary trainers. It’s really about taking it back to basics. With TME, it’s all about your journey and making fitness accessible and fun. It’s designed to not only reach your specific goals, but to turn that into a lifestyle. 

Keen to join Ryan and start your fitness journey? Sign up for the plan for only R199 ($14.99) per month – that’s just R16.50 ($1.23) a session – or R160 ($11.99) per month on the annual plan, and Maegan will get you in shape in no time! You log in, press play, and follow the talented coaches. There are no complicated routines, just proven moves with benefits. Best of all, you decide when and where you want to train. Ready to join The Movement Empire? Sign up here.




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