Liz Letchford Is on a Mission To Help People Move Better
"I believe that fitness is being able to move your body in all of the ways it was meant to move," Liz Letchford explains. "Posture and body awareness are a huge component of my training philosophy. I teach clients how to be more aware of their body and why they might be experiencing pain or tightness. Through educating people about their bodies, we can improve quality of life and decrease risk for injury."
Liz's career path may seem obvious, given her passion for movement, but things weren't as clear for the local trainer back in 2014. That was the year she finished her doctoral coursework and moved to San Francisco looking for a job. Letchford had worked as an athletic trainer for several years, but she didn't want to spend the rest of her life as a team trainer. "When I realized that I could use my knowledge and skills from working with athletes to better the lives of individuals, I spent months planning and organizing my movement and wellness coaching business." Liz was accepted to run her business out of Diakadi, and the rest, she says, is history.
Now, Letchford spends most of her time working one-on-one with clients—"It's such a fun job! I get to spend an hour with some of the greatest people I know, teaching them about their bodies and sharing with them the latest research findings"—but she still makes time for group instruction with The Release, a mobility and self-massage class at The Assembly.
"The premise of The Release was totally inspired by others. I stumbled across Jill Miller’s Yoga Tune Up videos and started using her teachings in my own personal practice. I found these techniques so helpful that I brought them into my personal training sessions. Once I saw how well the mobility techniques worked with my clients, I knew that I had to share this gift with more people in the community."
Wanna know more how Liz moves when she's not helping other folks move? Read on to find out.
Rockyt: How do you prepare for sessions?
Liz: Preparing for a client session takes a lot of brainstorming and puzzle-solving. I make sure to create a program that takes their injury history, goals, and current posture into consideration. The day of a session, I may have to shift the program depending on whether a client is sick, injured, sore, or otherwise unable to complete our program as planned.
When preparing for The Release, I take myself through the planned routine, curate a BOMB playlist, and make sure the timing of the songs blends well with the planned vibe of the class.
Rockyt: How do you cross train?
Liz: I am a huge fan of strength training and spend most of my workouts focusing on getting stronger while addressing my own movement faults. When I take class, it's usually yoga or Spin. I also occasionally run for “pleasure”—I don’t know why I say pleasure, it's 100 percent not pleasurable—and often enjoy outdoor activities like tennis, hiking, or volleyball.
Rockyt: What are your favorite studios for cross-training?
Liz: Lifted is my go-to strength training/meditation combo class. It's kick-ass. The Pad and Laughing Lotus are my favorite yoga studios. Flywheel is my go-to studio for a great cardio sesh on the bike.
Rockyt: Are you training toward a particular fitness goal right now?
Liz: I’m actually currently in a fun little phase where I am trying to find balance. With the stress of running a business and finishing my PhD, sometimes the physical demand of high-intensity workouts can cause me to burn out. (Helloooo, adrenal fatigue). I’m currently experimenting with different workout routines and frequencies to find the best balance for my well-being.
Rockyt: Do you take rest days?
Liz: Absolutely. A typical rest day includes some type of outdoor enjoyment: walking to meet friends, strolling through the park, rolling on my mobility balls, or some type of restorative class like The Release or Yin Yoga. I make sure to eat healthy, sleep well, and hydrate.
Rockyt: You're a PhD candidate. What are you studying?
Liz: I am taking a deep look into the causes of ACL injury in female athletes. My goal is to use these findings to develop a system to allow coaches, parents and athletes to successfully evaluate their personal injury risk. I am especially curious about the correlation between strength and movement quality. I am lucky because I can take what I learn in my research and apply it directly to my work with clients. Having my finger on the pulse of the latest in movement science allows me to stay updated on the latest findings in fitness and injury prevention.
Rockyt: As a trainer, what are you known for?
Liz: Definitely injury prevention and anatomical knowledge. With a background in sports medicine and a serious passion for understanding and solving movement abnormalities, I am constantly working with clients who have been discharged from physical therapy but aren’t quite yet ready or confident enough to get back into the gym safely. I also am a great fit for individuals who are dealing with pain or injury from years of taking classes or working out in the gym with improper form. From the very first session, my clients are constantly blown away by what they learn about their posture and the causes of their pain.
Rockyt: Tell me about Release! What inspired this workshop? Will you be doing more?
Liz: The Release is a 90-minute guided self-massage class that uses mobility tools to bring awareness, relief, and relaxation. You can expect to roll around on yoga balls, feel amazing, listen to a fantastic playlist, and laugh at the 'witty' jokes I throw out during the class.
I spent a few weeks brainstorming the vibe of the class and finally decided that I wanted to educate, inspire, and entertain. I put together a self-massage routine that would help anyone move better and prepare their body for their next workout. I spent days making my first playlist, tweaking the mobility routine, and testing it out on my friends. That first Release class was so special. I can’t wait to see how it grows and develops with the needs of the community. As of right now, I will be holding a class about once a month.
To contact Liz Letchford about personal training or The Release, visit LizLetchford.com.