The parkour expert shares his go-to summer workout and why he loves parkour.
This summer, we’re bringing you inspiration from some of the top celebrity fitness teachers and athletes and sharing their summer workouts, power songs and more. Your dream summer starts here.
Before parkour became a pastime for teens and young adults practicing on park benches and low cinder block walls, Dan Edwardes and a handful of other people around the world were studying the discipline. Originally trained in the fighting arts, Edwardes, a master of parkour, now teaches and mentors others in the art of parkour through his organization, Parkour Generations, which is the leading authority on parkour education. Parkour Generations has trained actors and performers for video games and media projects in Hollywood, including films like “Assassin’s Creed,” “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “World War Z.”
We asked the Londoner to share his ideal summer day and go-to summer workout.
24Life: What’s your go-to source for inspiration?
Dan Edwardes (DE): Books, music, nature and my friends. I immerse myself in these things regularly: books, to absorb information and concepts; nature, to access a different and more expansive mental state; music, to let my mind wander and explore new possibilities; friends, to discuss ideas and be exposed to their latest discoveries.
24Life: What do you teach and why?
DE: I teach parkour, though in reality I am using movement to help people become better versions of themselves. Movement and fitness are really secondary to this outcome, though of course, parkour does get you incredibly fit and strong! Parkour is the most powerful and natural tool I’ve found for achieving this goal, and I love it because it also teaches practical movement skills and a mindset that enables you to overcome any challenge in life.
24Life: Why is fitness so important to you?
DE: For me, movement and having a strong, capable body and mind allow me to explore the world around me fully—to engage with my environment, expand into it and discover my surroundings. I think fitness is a byproduct of a life lived to the fullest, and movement is a gift we should never take for granted. I’m forever grateful for the ability to discover just what my body can do in all situations.
24Life: What is your ideal workout (that is 24 minutes or less)?
DE: For a short training blast with the best results I like to utilize holistic movements as much as possible, things that bring in a multitude of mobility, agility and strength elements. An example of this would be:
1) Groundwork locomotion warm-up: This is a great way to activate the whole body without impact, and mobilize the joints and improve joint position sense;
2) Mobile balance drills: Walking, balancing and jumping onto railings will activate the proprioception like nothing else, as well as stimulating the vital small nerves in the feet and increasing body tension and balance;
3) Vault combinations: The body is designed to move over obstacles, so this should always be part of your training;
4) Bar muscle-ups: My favorite movement for overall strength and resilience, and a truly practical demonstration of body-weight strength.
24Life: What’s your greatest passion, outside of the work that you do?
DE: There are a few! I’ve studied fighting arts my entire life and love the practice, including archery and knife-throwing more recently. I also love stories and fables of all kinds, and have always written fiction, and am now delving into screenplay writing. I’m a huge fan of movies and the movie industry. I ride motorbikes; it’s still the best feeling, starting up a bike to go for a ride. Sky-diving is one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever taken up. I enjoy hiking and adventuring in nature, and of course, just spending time with the amazing friends I am fortunate to have in my life—that’s pretty hard to beat.
24Life: Describe your perfect summer day.
DE: Somehow fitting all of the above into 24 hours! But more practically: Wake-up early, make tea, do some breathing exercises, then go training in the nature reserve around my house (I’m very lucky to have this in London!); a long brunch and good coffee with friends; long hike into nature or up a mountain in the afternoon to find some beautiful spot to read a good book; run down the mountain; take the bike out to meet friends for dinner and then catch a movie at a quality cinema before staying up late debriefing the movie! Sleep.
24Life: Do you have a power food?
DE: Cheap chocolate milk after training. Best recovery drink out there.
24Life: What’s your number-one stressor and your surefire stress buster?
DE: Very little causes me negative stress, though I have plenty of sources of eustress (positive stress) which I purposefully engage with.
If I had to name something it would be my own impatience with new projects. I have a thousand ideas a day, and once I decide to act on one I can be very impatient to get started and see it come to life. I have too much excess energy at these times, and the way to bust it is to train and move, which always puts things in perspective.
24Life: What is something people may not know about you?
DE: I love crisps (or chips, for you Americans!). I can down a whole bag of kettle chips in a few minutes…
24Life: What’s your secret to getting stuff done?
DE: Just start. Don’t worry too much about timing or preparing the ground for a project, or having everything perfectly in place. Just get started and fix the rest as you go. Nothing kills an idea or a new project like inaction, and as was wisely said, “You can’t steer a parked car.” Just get started and you’ll solve all the problems as you go.
24Life: What is your power song for summer?
DE: I love good movie score compositions and find them to be a great source of inspiration to action. Listen to the track “Taking a Stand” from the “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” score by Henry Jackman, to see what I mean.
24Life: What book is on your night table?
DE: Currently Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” (an old favorite).
24Life: What’s your secret for a great night’s sleep?
DE: Switch off technology as early as possible and read a book for 30 minutes before sleeping. I never have any problems sleeping, and winding down properly will allow your mind to quiet before turning the lights off.
24Life: Any interesting performance rituals that you have before you teach, work or train?
DE: Before teaching, do some training. Before training, be still and breathe. Before working, make tea.
24Life: Do you have a favorite quote you would like to share?
DE: “You must be a light unto yourself.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti
Photo credit: Courtesy of Parkour Generations