We spoke with David Newton, Fitness and Wellness Careerist. David is a Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher, Indoor Cycling Instructor, Ironman Triathlete, Human and Equine Reiki Practitioner, and a great human! He has been working in the fitness industry for over 30 years and we have the good fortune to collaborate with him to bring Future Proofing to life. We speak with him a lot around here, and wanted to share a little with you about how he wants us to prepare ourselves for a healthy future, what we can learn from horses, and why he’s fascinated by feet.
What age did you get into organized fitness?
I started to enjoy athletics and movement from a very early age. I became involved in organized sport throughout elementary school – I played competitive baseball, volleyball and golf among other activities, such as track and field, but my biggest passion was in gymnastics and riding horses. Organized fitness and in-the-gym training didn’t happen for me until I was in high school and I understood the need for specific strength to hone specific skills. When I was a gymnast, I knew that I needed to build strength in specific areas to support myself, so I started training with movement patterns specific to being a gymnast using my body weight as my resistance. I was always curious and explored all the movement, activity and fitness programs that were available to me, and still enjoy doing so now.
What inspires you most in your work?
The people! When I’m in a room with or surrounded by people who are connected to what they are doing there’s a great energy that exists that everyone benefits from. I feel tremendous value if I am able to create that atmosphere fostering engagement, which not only keeps people coming back to my classes, but inspires me to give even more.
What do you have for breakfast?
I usually have a smoothie for breakfast that includes fermented protein and greens and MCT oil plus whatever superfoods I choose based on the day and how I feel. I also enjoy a hot drink … a turmeric latte or a cup of Ritual: UP. I also use reusable bottles as a part of my daily routine.
What your favourite colour and why?
Red. It’s such a passionate, hot in-your-face colour and it’s also the colour of the root chakra.
Is it healthy to work every day?
Well, I have been working every day for decades and I would consider myself a relatively healthy person, so I would say yes – it’s healthy to work every day but it has a lot to do with passion. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I do and earn a living doing so, while it also brings me great joy and fulfillment. It’s also all about what you do while you are working, and when you aren’t, and I’ve created a program around this concept called Counter Action.
What’s your favourite day of the week and why?
Saturday. And the reason? For starters weekend traffic makes my commute easier. I also teach three Saturday morning classes full of great people committed to their wellness. My afternoon and evening are unscheduled and afford me the time to practice self-care and spend time outdoors. You can usually find me at the barn with my horse, being creative and relaxing at home.
What are three essential exercises you believe everyone should know how to do and practice?
- The lunge: because it’s a locomotion based exercise
- The push up: because it’s a core based exercise that uses the push group muscles of the upper body (chest, shoulders and triceps)
- The seated row: because it involves the upper body pull muscles (back, shoulders and biceps)
Can you just teach classes or do you need to do any prep work?
Well, it depends on how we define prep work. I believe that I’ve been preparing for every class and session for over 30 years. Like with any career, although we keep learning and evolving, some aspects of our work becomes more natural as we become comfortable with the known, and understand how our actions and efforts result in specific outcomes, so it’s easier to deliver. Having said this, I still spend time at a desk, I still schedule and reschedule my heavily programmed days, and my commutes are not twice a day, but all day long between 3 club, private in-house clients and our Future Proofing workshops. The time spent commuting gives me the opportunity to reset and prep in terms of mindset and mode and also time to leave my previous commitments behind and set myself up for the next series. My experience and sheer number of classes taught has given me enough repertoire of sequencing, moves and movement patterns that I can draw on to be able to teach freestyle, and I draw on the energy in the room to choose which to teach at that given time. The Group power classes that I teach at Mayfair is an interesting program because every beat of all 10 songs is choreographed, so there is accountability and new programs delivered often. This kind of prep work is challenging but very welcome as it keeps everything fresh and gives me the opportunity to keep my mind sharp.
What do you wish someone had told you as a child?
I guess it’s not just what I wish that I had been told, but wish for every child to be told – that anything is possible, and that we shouldn’t allow our performance in any one specific activity or place to define us. We are all strong and gifted in one or many ways, and we should be fostered and encouraged to find out what that is, and where we connect and thrive rather than where we might struggle.
Is there a magic formula for losing weight?
No. There is no magic formula for losing weight – long-term healthy weight loss is a very individual pursuit. I have strong theories about weight loss and in a nutshell they have to do with our individual inflammatory responses to food. I believe that if we connect to the way our body responds to food and live accordingly, then our bodies will feel good and be of normal weight. Fitness and movement are also critical components, but I think that excessive fitness can cause stresses that lead to the body retaining weight. This happens when someone works out really hard and puts their body into a state of a fight or flight – it responds by retaining the weight that it was supposed to be shedding. We have to be very careful about fitness and weight loss because done correctly it can enhance but if done incorrectly it can actually sabotage our weight loss goals. Balance in diet and exercise are critical components for healthy weight maintenance.
Why do you spend so much time with horses?
Very simply I am drawn to their energy and power in their movement. I believe that horses have a lot to teach us and my connection to this and their spiritual energies is why I am so enamoured with these gentle beasts.
Favourite guilty pleasure?
Dairy free chocolate ice cream and tequila … enough said.
What worries you the most about aging?
I think what worries me the most about aging is that I feel as though I still have so much learning and growing to do and wonder if I have enough time left to get it all done. I’m still learning so many new movement patterns and I’m understanding the body and mind more and more daily … so I still feel like I’m growing exponentially. I think about what might be when I get to a point whereby I actually see myself going into a state of decline – whether it be movement pattern or mental activity or sickness and how that might affect me. But, the truth is that I’m becoming more and more at ease and more comfortable with myself as I live in my aging body.
How much of what you have accomplished is luck and how much is hard work?
Well, I don’t see myself as being lucky or unlucky, I just see myself as being successful … mostly because I’ve lived my life with an abundance of passion and dedication to be successful. I think when you connect yourself with being lucky or unlucky, this gets in the way – if you’re feeling is that you are having an unlucky day, you are going to go with it and it might cause you to miss opportunities because you’re not seeing clearly or using an open mind. I also think if you feel lucky, that this doesn’t have a foundation. I believe that when you take responsibility for your success or lack thereof, then you are connected to your work, your choices, your goals and the journey in reaching them. Everything is possible with hope, good intention, a healthy mindset and of course, lots of hard work.
Is all of your work Toronto based?
Although my teachings are firmly Toronto-based, I am fortunate enough to have taught in Mexico over the winter, I now travel to California to attend Expo West to keep up and learn about the latest in healthy food and products (bringing that information back to you in a digestible way), and my new program, Future Proofing, and my horse are now both taking me outside of Toronto with greater frequency, and I’m looking forward to exploring more.
Why did you create your own teas?
Being in the gym as much as I am, I recognized a disconnect between people’s efforts and focus to physically train from how they nourish their bodies and minds with clean, healthy fuel. My new teas, “Ritual: Up” and “Ritual: Down”, are intended to support new holistic habits and healthful rituals, while replacing artificial energy enhancers and relaxers with something entirely natural, organic, fairly-traded, and of course, effective. I’m honoured to share my signature, functional organic teas that I formulated in collaboration with Lemon Lily, to support and optimize physical and mental health.
What’s the difference between Future Proofing and Counter Action?
Future Proofing is an intensive yet gentle, training program and workshop. It is a radically different approach to awareness and foundational body movement patterns. The program promotes strength gains and addresses healthy movement. It focuses on natural functional abilities which will ultimately improve overall health and wellbeing. I believe the program is essential to achieving personal wellness goals, no matter ones age or stage in life. The corporate version of Future Proofing, is called Counter Action, and I offer sessions and clinics that range from 45 minutes to 3 hours. I also offer private sessions and workshops for groups and in collaboration with fitness studios.
You’re big into foot health. Why?
Happy feet = happy body! There are 26 bones in each foot, collectively 1/3 of the bones in the whole body … this fascinates and amazes me! There are also 33 joints, 19 muscles, 10 tendons and 107 ligaments. All of these components need to work in perfect balance in order to optimize locomotion. Over the course of an average day, our feet take a cumulative force of at least one hundred tons. Have you ever gone for a foot massage or reflexology? Foot therapies improve circulation, stimulate muscles, reduce tension, and can ease pain … a good massage can enhance your mood and also just feel really good.
You spend so much of your time in your car travelling to classes. What is your favourite fast food?
When I do not bring lunch or dinner from home, I rely on BIORAW. Each salad is a complete and balanced meal, rich in plant-based protein, fibre, and healthy fats providing the right fuel for my long days on the move. All ingredients are organic and the nutrient-rich meals are made by a wonderful Toronto-based company.
Here are some of the other things and places I rely on every week in Toronto.