Friday, August 17The Voice of London

NKD Training: The Workout With a Difference

Why should you wear restrictive sweaty clothing whilst you workout? You’re only making unnecessary washing! Can you imagine going to a gym where you can strip off without judgement or getting arrested? Well now you can!

Words: Jade Ratcliffe Sub-Editor: Caitlyn Hudson

Source: Paul Bates
Source: Paul Bates

NKD Training is a nudist training experience for men. You can either book your own personal trainer at yours or his home, or go to one of the sessions at a gym on a Sunday. It’s everything you’d expectNKD from a workout. But nude.

Paul Bates, from NKD Training, feels that there are a number of benefits to working out naked. “It’s an incredibly liberating experience, but also very spiritual, freeing your mind and tuning you in to your physical side”.

Paul used to work for a television company, but had trained to be a fitness instructor for his own interests alongside it. It wasn’t until he was made redundant that he decided to take personal training to the next level and make a career out of it.

Back in 2010 he was doing regular training, mainly with groups, teaching aerobics, body pump and boot camps in the park. But it was all regular clothed training until he then decided that it just wasn’t cutting it. So he started looking for a unique selling point to separate him from the extensive competition.

He explained that when he was training he’d noticed that a lot of men like to workout topless so that they could see their bodies and see what they were doing. That was the start of his revolution.

“I advertised that I was quite happy for guys to take their shirts off, which a lot of gyms don’t even let you do, there’s a big thing about guys having to keep their shoulders covered and all that kind of stuff and I got really fed up with that.

“Straight the way I advertised on a gay website, and I got lots of guys interested in doing the training, but within a few sessions it was clear that a lot were naturists and wanted to train completely naked.”

After realising how popular training completely naked would be, Paul decided that would be his unique selling point. In 2013 the ball was rolling and he was training people in the buff.

“Initially I was doing it in peoples homes, but then a lot of people said

‘I live with someone else, or I’m sharing a flat and its not really convenient, can I come to you?’ So I ended up building my own gym in my house.”

Last year Paul was approached by a naturist group who encouraged him to do naturist group training. Which led to him teaming up with them to look for a suitable venue. Eventually they were successful and now Paul coaches group sessions at The Gym Clinic, Chiswick every Sunday, alongside his usual private sessions throughout the week.

Source: Paul Bates
Source: Paul Bates

The group introduced him to Naturist London, a naturist group affiliated with British Naturism, that runs activities throughout the city. On Sunday lunchtimes they organise a naturist swim at the university of London Union.

Paul stated that it doesn’t restrict your cardio ability; in fact there are a number of benefits to working out naked. “It feels incredibly liberating and you feel very free because you haven’t got the restrictions of the clothes. It’s almost like a spiritual experience. It just frees your mind and tunes you in to the physical side of your own body.”

He admits there are dangers, but not if you take precautions. “If someone was to drop a weight on your foot it can do serious damage, so I encourage people to wear training shoes just for health and safety reasons.”

He told that the sessions were originally advertised as mixed groups, they’d had a few enquiries from women but they were worried about how uncomfortable it would be to run around without a sports bra. They were also worried about being the only females, so never turned up to the sessions.

“After a few months I started advertising to men only, for the simple reason that the guys said they wouldn’t feel comfortable with women in the room and I also felt that it would be a bit of a weird dynamic and could bring problems.”

British Naturism was determined to have gender-neutral sessions, so they weren’t separating the sexes. “But they had to understand that in that small space nobody would feel comfortable, so I took that decision early on.” Paul explained.

“I’d consider it if I could get a female instructor”.

Paul said that all the men go fully nude, they run split sessions- the first hour in the gym clothes are optional, then afterwards in the main instructor session everybody strips off.

“After 5 minutes of arriving, even the self conscious feel comfortable and they say it feels right being naked cause everybody else is.

“I get clients of all ages, from 20 to the age of 70, all with different fitness levels.

“People come along and say at a gym they feel really uncomfortable, really intimidated, especially if they’re not very fit, but coming here they see that everyone’s naked and it sort of breaks down the barriers and makes them feel comfortable.

“The most important thing is enjoying the session. If it’s a chore then you wont want to do it. If you’re training with a personal trainer or in a group session, it’s down to the instructor to make it enjoyable. It’s all about the dynamic with the client.

“The naked thing- because its so unusual, people look forward to it more than a normal session. It’s an invigorating, liberating workout and something you don’t do everyday.”