Ryan Daniel Beck’s resume is a pop art lover’s dreamscape. A professional dancer for many years, the Southern California native performed with Beyoncé, Black Eyed Peas and MOMIX, touring internationally.
When he started to have shoulder and back issues, he worked with a physical therapist. He quickly realized how odd it was that more PT knowledge wasn’t available to dancers in reference to injury prevention. His query led him to work with Robert Steinbacher in Switzerland, who helped facilitate bringing bodyART, the physical therapy-based movement system, to the legendary Broadway Dance Center in NYC.
Since then, bodyART has expanded to help clients at Google, Louis Vuitton, Industry City, Joffrey Ballet, Unilever, KPMG, Lululemon, Athleta, Vuori, as well as on Broadway. Meanwhile, Beck now serves as the founder of bodyART Training Studios and the director of outreach teams in North and South America.
With a focus on flow, form and alignment, BA is the perfect compliment–and often antidote–to the sometimes overused HIIT options so abundant right now in the fitness world. Below, Beck shares his thoughts on crafting a more reasonable and longevity-focused routine, his personal approach to movement and how bodyART is central to both.
SBS: How would you describe bodyART versus other modalities?
Ryan Daniel Beck: BodyART is the world’s first PTBT (physical therapy-based training) approach to sustainable movement longevity. Our objectives are injury prevention, pain reduction and sustainable longevity for your knees, hips, shoulders, and spine. Our goal is to help people continue doing whatever activities make them happy. We want to help runners continue to run, yogis continue to stretch, boxers continue to punch, dancers continue to kick, swimmers continue to swim, and so on.
SBS: Where can people find bodyART? How often should they do bodyART a week?
RDB: To join one of our training sessions, text “CLASSES” to 917-810-3075 or DM on IG @bodyart.nyc. Since bodyART is designed as an injury prevention system, you can make it a daily practice without fear of overtraining. Many of our clients train bodyART two or three times a week in addition to another activity they love.
SBS: What are the common mistakes clients make when choosing workouts or mixing/matching different modalities?
RDB: Clients often come to classes with completely misguided expectations. For example, going to spin class for ‘weight loss’ without looking at your daily caloric intake (how many nutrient-deficient calories you are eating every day) and your activity levels outside the class, is a very misguided expectation (which sadly many ‘fitness’ companies are happy to let go unaddressed).
SBS: What's your advice for creating an injury-prevention and rejuvenative weekly approach to fitness?
RDB: Whatever movement practice you choose, make sure it’s something you genuinely enjoy. This will help ensure consistency. Secondly, find an instructor or coach who is a stickler for technique and ego-free execution.
SBS: What are your top three tips for injury prevention?
RDB: First, reject the ‘punishmentality’ that says your workout requires pain in order to be effective. If your trainer asks you to be ‘tough or ‘deal with it,’ immediately fire them, because they do not have your longevity as a priority.
Second, reject the idea that ‘you are in competition with yourself.’ Actually, for injury prevention, it is far better to be ‘in conversation with yourself.’
Third, emphasize quality, technique, and breathing when training, and totally ignore the temptation to ‘show off’ by going faster or trying to use heavier weights.
SBS: What are the most common injuries you see from over-training? How does one avoid them?
RDB: The most common would be shoulder rotator cuff tears, labral tears in the hip, lumbar disc herniation, and knee/ankle pathologies.The first thing to remember is that HIIT classes are only a quarter of a balanced movement diet.
Very few coaches in the industry talk about HISS (high intensity steady-state, SISS (sub-max intensity steady state) and SIIT (sub-max intensity interval training). Sadly, many ‘fitness pros,’ when asked, don’t even know what they are or how people should be integrating these training protocols into their weekly training regimen. Because trainers over-emphasize HIIT style programming, rather than a balanced approach, they actually accelerate the aging process of the articulated surfaces in the joints and connective tissue and cartilage.
SBS: What are different types of workouts for, and what’s a healthy mixture of them in your opinion?
RDB: HISS stands for High Intensity Steady State. This is high load, high impact and short duration (20 minutes) form used by NFL/Army/Navy Seals to very quickly condition, usually for about two weeks max.
Then, SISS, or Sub-Max Intensity Steady State, is a continuous low impact/sustainable movement/longer duration (1 hour) type of exercise. bodyART is a SISS form of conditioning.
SIIT stands for Sub-Max Intensity Interval Training, and it’s a form designed for people working at a desk or on a plane for long hours. It includes regular, short intervals, five minutes for every hour.
20-25% of the weekly workload can be HIIT or HISS without accelerating the aging process or diminishing returns. 75-80% can be SISS work to maintain mobility, decrease pain, promote sufficient recovery and increase energy levels.
SBS: What is your own wellness routine? How has it changed during Covid?
RDB: I live an extremely N.E.A.T. (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) lifestyle, which means that I am a perpetually active person. I ride my bike or walk to all my appointments, I love to take the stairs when possible, and my day-to-day activities always include bodyART. This combination of active lifestyle and regular conditioning helps me prevent injury and continue feeling fantastic, even during COVID.
SBS: What's your approach to nutrition?
RDB: There is no such thing as a good or bad food, and messaging that suggests this type of binary is a huge social problem that results in numerous psychological, emotional, and physiological disorders. Food is either nutrient-dense or nutrient-deficient.
For example, the idea of a ‘splurge’ restaurant is unfortunately an aspect of diet culture that I don’t agree with on a philosophical level. I feel that it perpetuates an unsustainable and unrealistic hierarchy between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, which is simply an idea that in my opinion should have been retired years ago.
Eating primarily nutrient-dense foods will help fuel your body effectively, decrease bloating and digestive issues. However, many nutrient-deficient foods are also important, as they provide pleasure and enjoyable experiences. I naturally eat approximately 80% nutrient-dense food, and 20% nutrient-deficient.
SBS: How does movement help your day-to-day life? What does movement mean to you?
RDB: Action and movement is the antidote to stagnation. There are many times in life where we feel that circumstances are out of our control and we are ‘stuck.’ But physical movement reminds us that our physical experience is something we can always access as long as we are alive and conscious. Through movement, we can jump-start the creative parts of our brain to activate innovative solutions.
The best, zaniest part of being Ryan: The best part of me is my fluid relationship between masculine and feminine energies. I love to explore new ways to express both sides of my personality.
Ryan’s SBS Mantra: Be Mindful. It connects to the deep awareness with which you approach your movement. Training that is not mindful lacks awareness and the results are choppy, sloppy and demonstrate poor technique. It’s much better to be mindful, ignore the need to compete and focus only on the quality of your work.
Ryan’s NYC Faves:
Healthy Restaurant: Any restaurant can be a ‘healthy’ restaurant, especially if it brings you enjoyment, uses high quality, nutrient-dense ingredients, and the food is delicious. I love Suzume in Williamsburg for these reasons.
Nightlife Spot: House of Yes
Fun Activity: I’ve really been having fun learning how to float on a Onewheel!
Calming Activity: Go to IG @abathhouse and book a session with @mindbodyrestorations. Then, thank me later!
Fitness Studio: Forward_Space
Yoga Studio: Woom Center
Athletic Shoes: On Running
Online Resource: @dralexstone, DPT
Book: This Idea Is Brilliant by John Brockman