An Interview with Zoltan Balogh

Since December, 2015, Chiswick has been fortunate to have Zoltan Balogh plying his trade at The Massage Centre. Zoltan is a serious man. He is serious about providing pain relief to his clients, he is serious about his holistic approach to health, and he is serious about having fun with his fitness. He comes by these things honestly, as his whole family is filled with athletes that believe in putting health and family first. His Mum owns a lavender shop back home in Hungary, and Zoltan was inspired to study herbs and homeopathy for a while. He also sends his clients emails with tips and tricks to maximise their health by making small changes to their everyday lives. But does he practice what he preaches?

Absolutely! When I grimaced at his suggestion to change my morning ritual of a steaming hot shower, Zoltan suggested switching to 1 minute of cold water for every 3 minutes of hot. It actually works to pump out your muscles when the blood flow moves out to the capillaries at the skin surface with the heat (to try to cool you down) and then back into your core to preserve it (when you switch to the cold), resulting in a type of cleanse for your muscles. Zoltan swears his muscles have never seized after a heavy workout if he follows up with this kind of shower.

Zoltan is most serious right now about his love of Cross Fit. By striving to hit a high personal fitness level, he is energised and ready to bring his best treatments to his clients every day. He describes it as functional muscle exercise, pushing you far beyond any limits you may think you have. A typical session of Cross Fit lasts 60 minutes and involves the WOD (work out of the day) which might include push-ups, sprints, pull-ups, squats or weights, lots of weights. Professional trainers follow the group’s work out, acting as spotters, adjusting the exerciser’s form to prevent injury, or upping the weight to encourage participants to reach for higher goals. Men’s Health (August, 2016) calls Cross Fit a regime that can become an obsession, albeit a popular one found in 13,000 gyms in over 120 countries. Zoltan, with a quick smile, slightly agrees, as you will find him participating up to 5 times weekly. He says it is deeper than an obsession though. It is about pushing yourself to reach new targets while surrounded by friends and like-minding individuals that encourage and motivate each other to work hard. He thinks it is best described as similar to the relationship army recruits find within their regiment, built on respect and common goals. He says you will find no headphones or antisocial behaviour. Everyone is fully committed to each other and their own training.
And all of this working out goes a long way for Zoltan beyond improving his own health. He understands how injuries can happen, and how stretching, having proper form and practicing good maintenance with healthy eating and regular massages can assist in avoiding them. The mechanics of muscles, how they can move, strengthen and gain mobility are things he hasn’t just learned from studying, but from actually using them. His massage treatments are highly praised by clients who are runners, fitness gurus and average Chiswickians. This is a lifestyle that benefits himself, and his clients.
The Cross Fit community goes much farther than what is happening in the gym. Fundraisers, like the 1000 burpee challenge, back many charities and receive a lot of member support. Zoltan thinks even inactive people can take a page from Cross Fit. This is a community that brings out your best. The trainers are very knowledgeable and can scale programs and weights to get everyone feeling strong. While pushing yourself, you actually have fun and believe you too, can become an athlete.


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