Sun, 18 October 2020
Liz Grantham is the founder of TheOptimal.me, an extensive online collection of proprietary Integrated Movement Routines (IMRs) and wellness content developed specifically for people 50 plus who want to make life easier, feel younger, stay active and live with less pain. The Integrated Movement Routines are based on functional movements and take a whole-body, timeless, and natural approach to improve mobility, stability, flexibility, balance, and strength. Liz has more than 30 years of experience in marketing and advertising, providing innovative, integrated, thoughtful solutions for global clients such as Visa, Shell, and Sony Mobile, working on projects including the Olympics.
Before we discuss your App, TheOptimal.me, let's talk about you, Liz; where were you born, and what was young Liz's childhood like growing up?
I was born in a small town in South Africa called Port Elizabeth. I had a fabulous childhood. It was very long ago. I grew up in the days of analog. A telephone was a luxury almost, so a television only arrived when I was in school. We would watch the television at the neighbors' home; not everybody had them. I grew up and went off to Boarding school and ended up working in marketing and advertising as a young person.
So Your Career Path was in Advertising Prior to Starting TheOptimal.me Fitness Program?
I worked in advertising for over 30 years and had my own Agency for more than 20 and what's been wonderful is that during my career, I've really been able to work on some fantastic, big Sports sponsorship properties and worked on Olympic games. I worked on Rugby World Cups and Football World Cups, so I had a keen interest in sports and sports development. We are currently working on women in sports on a fantastic program for one of our clients that involves women in sports, so sports have always been something that's been a part of my career, but it wasn't always part of my personal reaching and my life.
Was there an Aha moment that inspired you to get into the fitness space?
Absolutely, I'm sure Vincent, that you know many stories like mine; I work in advertising, where it is a high-pressure, high-stress career. I do a lot of running around but really just hard work, the clock is ticking all the time, and one of my health advisors said to me that they were concerned that I was going to suffer from adrenal fatigue and as you might know, if adrenal fatigue goes too far and you have adrenal burnout, it's not really something you can fix, and one of the solutions that were put in front of me was that I needed to include exercise in my daily life and I was like I hate exercise, and I'm really not going to be doing that. So they said, well, you have a choice to make, so I did quite an amount of research. I'm a real follower and believer in functional medicine and thankfully found a real functional medicine practitioner, and they started talking to me about finding a different way of exercising, not just running on a treadmill or doing weight circuits. I can't concentrate long enough; I get quite bored. I think our bodies get so full of stress and tension. I use to live on Ibuprofen every afternoon just to get through the day with the headaches and sore neck. I found a fantastic trainer, and well, I took the plunge. I actually heard about him. I heard that what he did was quite different, and I went into a class one Friday evening with massive trepidation into this class that was full of people who all knew each other and were chatting. It was really quite scary almost, and the people were young and old. Anyway, I did this class, and 15 minutes later, I could not believe how my body felt. In 15 minutes, I felt like a completely different human being, and I then started doing three classes a week, and that literally changed my whole life in terms of how my body felt and how I was able to get through my day. People started asking me, what were you doing, what's going on with you, you're in a much better mood, you're full of chirp, you're not moaning and groaning all the time, and I honestly put it down to movement, so it was a really startling change for me, and I have been kind of a disciple ever since. So much so, I started a whole business around it.
What Can Someone Expect to Experience When Trying TheOptimal.me App?
Our vision was to build out a platform where people of midlife, whether that's 45 or 50, 55, 60 or 65, can find a solution that is tailor-made for our stage in life because I think as you get into midlife, our objectives in terms of our bodies and wellness often change. We're keener on being fit for purpose, in terms of Aging well, really being active in order to do the things we want to do, then looking beautiful. I think for many people, that is really a shift from when you were in your 20s or thirties where how you look is often more important than how you feel. So what they will find are our integrated movement routines, our wonderful trainer, whose name is Jennie. He is a highly qualified physical education teacher. He is an accredited trainer. He is really a master in the body and in movement. He actually turned 60 early this year. He is extraordinary. He's always been a dancer and a gymnast. He never suffered any injuries because he believes we should move our body the way we were designed to move, because while our world might have changed, how we move is still the same whether we were cavemen, hunter-gatherer and unfortunately in our daily lives now, what do we do now, our environment and our world is created for efficiency and our time and convenience, not for us to move like we use to. So, our integrated movement routines are all about moving in movement patterns, some of which are very familiar. There are movement patterns to really optimize our ability to be aligned, to be strong, to have good posture, to be able to twist and turn and not be afraid of injury really because we are strong and stable and able to do that. We have hundreds of workouts on our site, and they are all exclusive, and we approached everything we've done not to be flashy but to really give an experience that somebody in midlife whose eyes maybe were not as good as they were in their 30s.
We've focused on the fact that it's not about being fancy and modern. Even our music, we get all of our music tracks composed and commissioned so that even the music experience is joyful and fun and not necessarily hard on the ears. We worked really hard to provide something that works for our age group. It's not competitive. It's very progressive. You start where you start and move along. What you really want to do is get everyone moving. We also have fantastic nutritional information and health information and all specific to midlife and beyond because our bodies go through all sorts of changes, and we don't produce the same enzymes and amino acids. We need to look at things differently as we age, and we don't need to put all of our ailments down to old age. There are other things that can be quickly resolved.
How long are the exercise routines?
We recommend you do the routines at least 15 minutes per day, but you will find 5-minute routines, 15-minute routines, and 30 minutes and there are a beginner and intermediate classes on the site. I think it's difficult to find an excuse not to do 5 minutes or even 15 minutes of movement in a day.
Why is Functional Fitness Important as we age?
Well, think about it; if you are not able to do the 7 or 8 basic functional movements, you know, you squat, lunge, reach, push, pull, you walk. For instance, when you sit down, you're going into a squat, and when you stand up out of your squat, you need to do that to get out of your chair, and if you can't do that, you're going to need someone to help you do those type of things. If you just think about balance as we get older, what people don't know is that you start losing your balance in your 20s. It's not something that goes pop when you get to midlife. I think 1 in 4 people over the age of 55 ends up in the emergency room from a fall. If you're not working on your balance regularly, chances are you're going to roll your ankle; you're going to tumble at some point and trip on the stairs. If you're taking care of yourself, it doesn't have to be that way.
Where do you see TheOptimal.me in the Next 5 Years?
I have big plans, Vincent. I am excited about talking to our age group because I think that this is a program that's built by mid-lifers for mid-lifers. Simone, our consulting physiotherapist, she's also about to turn 60, Jennie's 60, I'm 53, the guy who composes our music is in his 50s. We are not pretending to know something that we don't. We really understand because we live it. We live this midlife time, and we're all excited about life. We want to be healthy, travel, and able to see the world, and if COVID has taught my friends and me one thing, it's how we took getting on a plane and going off somewhere exciting, inspirational, and beautiful for granted. We didn't think twice that we wouldn't be able to travel a couple of times a year, so I think we all want to be ready for when we can and when it's safe for us to get out there when we can. We will be looking at a regenerated planet because I think this might be one of the upsides of COVID. We've given our planet a bit of a rest.
It's been amazing. In South Africa, we have an amazing wildlife and bush life, and when we were in major lockdown, we couldn't do that anymore and often a lot of it was very expensive so we would have a lot of international travelers who go to our wildlife parks and when they lifted some of our restrictions, and we were allowed to cross state boundaries again, all of those beautiful places kind of needed people to visit so that they could keep going and the animals have come out to play, it was quite a remarkable thing. Everyone who came back from Safari is like; we've never seen so many animals, we've never seen animals like this before. I think maybe that's going to be the whole world for us. The animals and the planet will be excited to see us all again, so we need to be ready.
How can we find out more about Liz Grantham and TheOptimal.me?
Well, they can go along to our website at www.theoptimal.me and they can go and have a look around and get a taste of what we do. We have a 30-day free pass. They can take the time to really make sure they like the program, and if they enjoy it and want to commit, they can access all of our articles and written content, they can access it without having to buy a subscription. So there is a lot for them to see and find at TheOptimal.me. I think there is something there for everybody.