Updated: Feb 21, 2019
This is an interview I just did with FORM-idea.com. Enjoy!
Julien Bertherat, a 35-year-old former rugby player from Clermont-Ferrand, France, with a university degree/Master in Public Law, is today a personal trainer at one of the most well-known sports clubs in the capital, Jubilee Hall Gym at Covent Garden, in the heart of London. The building, incidentally, is a [National/Natural Heritage?] site and was inaugurated by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Pierre S: In your opinion, why is it important to go to the gym?
Julien Bertherat: For my part, it’s about having a full head on a healthy body. The mental and the physical are linked. Physical exercise helps to remove stress, to recharge, and to be a little bit selfish (?) and think about yourself.
Is training an anti-depressant?
To the extent where it doesn’t become an obsession; yes, it relieves the pressure of work and daily life.
Is there no danger of becoming addicted? I see some men in my sports club who turn into Schwarzenegger in the space of only a few months...
There is a danger indeed. I believe that it comes from the fact that for some people, the gym hall is the main social environment, the first meeting place. In parallel, exercise can also become the only way of existing in respect to others.
This obsession of keeping up appearances leads very quickly to an escalation that sometimes drives the individual to take some drugs; it causes at least desocialisation, I would even say a ghettoisation.
Why is it important to have a personal trainer when you start packing on muscles?
Given what I’ve just said, the trainer is there to help you achieve your realistic goals; so, showing the correct technique and the right posture for each exercise, while explaining which muscles are prompted.
He [trainer] is the expert who must give a viewpoint on the exercise and its benefits on the body as well as on the health.
What would you say to those who make fun of the physical appearance with this malicious saying “Everything in the muscles, nothing in the head”?
They could be right! That said, you don’t need to underestimate the recognised fact that we live longer and that we have to work for years, and this is what leads us to consider the health aspect of exercising. Remember though that training isn’t just all about lifting weights! It is primarily used to strengthen the cardiovascular system. We know that the risk of many diseases can be greatly reduced thanks to moderated physical exercise every week. It is estimated that we should devote about 150 minutes per week.
Is dieting necessary to have a perfect body? Would you also advise protein-based diets?
Let’s assume at first that we are all born normal! If throughout our life, our body becomes a burden, that comes from overeating in addition to physical inactivity. You need to eat when you feel the need to. Certainly, a diet regime can help in the case of serious obesity or anorexia; however, it can only be a transition towards a normal diet. Finally, I would say that there is no perfect body... because we all have a different perception of ourselves from one another.
Right, a little bit of philosophy now: what should we do or have in order to achieve a balanced life?
I read an article recently where that same question was posed to a French philosopher. I loved his response: an ideal day for him is: “A succession of moments of solitude, encounters, private exchanges, professional encounters and exchanges, and physical activity”.
I know that you are very multi-purpose. What other professional activity do you do?
I am a full-time personal trainer. During my free time, I develop my blog.
Why did you choose London as your place of residence?
My brother came here. I also learned English at school.
Do you miss France?
Not really, although I like going back to see my family and enjoy the summer sun. Being a foreigner can sometimes bring about the idea that you are alone. From a societal perspective, it has to be said that France and England underwent the last 20 years down somewhat different trajectories.
Is there a difference in the criteria of physical beauty between England and France?
That’s a question that deserves to be asked! From my point of view, it is undeniable that a personal trainer will have more work in England than in France. This applies especially to the Paris/London comparison. I think that the English have a more American approach to this point of view. Let’s say that London has that kind of zeitgeist... And that zeitgeist is in excess of aesthetics.