Nigel Lloyd combines fitness training with cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy to help the body and the mind…
Less-Stress London: Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy (CBH) and physical training are an unusual combination. How did you get started?
Nigel Lloyd: It is unusual to combine the two things, but to me it’s logical as there is a strong link between having a healthy mind and a healthy body.
On the physical side, I’ve been training for a long time and I’m a martial artist black belt in Jeet Kune Do and Kali.
On the therapy side, my first degree was in psychology, then I gained a Masters in research methodology as it’s important to me that things are evidence based. After that I gained a diploma in CBH.
L-SL: What are your clients looking for when they come to you for personal training?
Nigel: Some haven’t exercised for a while and want to get fit again and others are already strong and want to improve further. For me it’s about finding a way to achieve sustainable health and wellbeing. I want to help people stay fit and active for years to come rather than getting the perfect beach body in three to six months then giving up.
L-SL: What kind of personal training do you do?
Nigel: Everyone is different, so I tailor the sessions to individual needs. Mostly, it’s about increasing the amount of lean muscle. As well as cardio, stretches, and strength work, I do high-intensity interval training, circuits, martial arts and a lot of boxing and pad work, focusing on good technique.
L-SL: Why do people come to you for therapy?
Nigel: The two most common issues are stress and anxiety. I help people to relax, reduce day-to-day stress and anxiety and learn to cope better.
L-SL: How does CBH work?
Nigel: There are three key elements to CBH: relaxation, suggestion and focus. First, it’s important to be relaxed, as then we are more susceptible to suggestion.
Second, I look at people’s thought patterns and behaviours and use suggestion to try to change them so that they are more helpful. For example, you may get up in the morning telling yourself that a meeting that day is going to be horrible, or that you’re going to fail. You need to ask whether what you are saying to yourself is helpful or whether it’s causing you stress and anxiety. Then we can change the pattern to something more positive.
The third element is helping people to focus. We respond better to hypnosis when we are able to focus on what is being said to us.
L-SL: Do people come to you for personal training as well as therapy or are they usually separate clients?
Nigel: I have quite a few clients who start off training, then come to me for stress-reduction or anxiety work as well. It’s difficult to pull the two things apart because I’m always thinking about people’s behaviours and their motivations.
L-SL: How do you motivate people?
Nigel: I look at their thought processes about exercise, what they like and don’t like, as well as past experiences. I find out what the barriers are, then see what I can do to take them forward in a way that’s enjoyable. If they feel forced to do something they won’t want to do it.
I also use hypnosis for motivation, looking at people’s thoughts and beliefs around motivation or procrastination. We look at changing those in the therapy room and that works well.
L-SL: What advice can you give readers on reducing stress and anxiety?
Nigel: One of the big principles is to increase your awareness of what’s happening in your body and mind. Often we are stressed or anxious but don’t even realise it, or we rush for the tube at a hundred miles an hour even though we don’t need to. Once you recognise that you’ve got into these patterns of behaviour, that’s half the battle. Take time to ask yourself: ‘Are my shoulders hunched? Is there any tension in my body?’ Then we can start looking at techniques to breathe and release that.
L-SL: Do you have any advice for people who are chronic worriers?
Nigel: If you suffer from chronic worry, I recommend that you set aside 20 minutes at the end of every day for ‘worry time’. If you feel concerned about anything during the day, quickly jot it down but tell yourself you’ll worry about it later. At the end of the day, sit with a notepad and write down everything that’s been bothering you then just ‘worry’ for 20 minutes, without trying to rationalise it.
After a couple of weeks, you start to recognise the patterns to your worries, and how repetitive they are. This process gets you used to the idea that you can defer worry.
L-SL: Where do you conduct your therapy and your personal training?
Nigel: I deliver my therapies at City of London Therapy Centre near The Barbican, and at City Road Therapy Centre near Angel. For personal training I go to private gyms or one at Gainsborough Health & Fitness in Hoxton.