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  1. Wealth
March 1, 2008

Theory Of Wellativity

By Spear's

You provide the perspiration, Ki Performance provides the inspiration. It’s scientific gym genius, says Penelope Bennett.

You provide the perspiration, Ki Performance provides the inspiration. It’s scientific gym genius, says Penelope Bennett.

We are none of us average. Many of us are shorter, taller, slower or faster of metabolism, smaller of frame or bigger of bone than average. In our respective quest to get fit, fight flab, recover from illness, de-stress, energise and basically target and fix what is affecting us, what good is it to subscribe to ‘one size fits all’ health guidelines? Little, if any. I see it as tantamount to buying a fitted blazer off the rack. At 6’4”, it fits me like a Matador’s torero jacket.

I go bespoke for blazers and was delighted to learn that as of last autumn, I can go bespoke for health, too. The first performance management consultancy of its kind, Ki Performance, on west London’s Margaret Street, provides tailored, science-based solutions for the individual – male or female, young or old – seeking to enhance and sustain his or her performance at work, on the pitch and in between.

The concept stems from the belief that you and you alone can provide the framework for your lifestyle regimen, whence the strict banishment of average guidelines. Founder and chairman Andy Parker says that dieting or exercising in earnest is futile if you do not understand how your own body works.

A former professional athlete turned businessman and hotel chain-magnate, Parker is in his late 40s and arguably the best advertisement for this venture: the alpha type you’d expect to be saved from annihilation should civilisation need to create a master race, he is the embodiment of health and vitality. ‘We work on a platform of science,’ he says of Ki Performance. ‘It’s not subjective and it’s not about gurus. We create a platform of data that is absolutely bespoke to you.’

The fruit of five years of ongoing R&D in the elite sports market – working with Abramovich’s Chelsea Football Club and the Scotland rugby team among others – the methods of the centre’s scientists and consultants are then tailored to the general population. You could liken a visit to Ki Performance to the purchase of a performance car. The average ceo hasn’t the time to be monitored like an elite sportsman, and an F1 automobile doesn’t lend itself to side streets, so ceo and car fan respectively go for the next best thing.

Four different individualised approaches are available. The Body Image assessment (see box for more options) focuses on a client’s shape, size and composition. Crucial to its accuracy is a correct reading of your resting metabolic rate (rmr), which will give you the number of calories your body requires at rest. ‘The difference rmr makes is extraordinary,’ notes performance director Nigel Stockill, a former sports science manager with the England cricket team. ‘Dieticians and nutritionists will work on a predicted rmr, which at times can be off by as many as 600 calories,’ he says, almost incredulous.

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The egg-shaped Bod Pod, the strap-ridden isokinetic dynamometer measuring 27 different muscle groups – it’s fit for a torture chamber, the wearing of an arm band, five-day food logs, blood tests and saliva swabs are all to be reckoned with before you are handed an executive, corporate-style report detailing just how disturbed your sleep is, how strong and flexible you are, what nutrients your body is lacking, what body part you will injure a week from today if you carry on at this rate and, finally, what it is you need to be doing to remedy your current state.

The science involved is precise, to say nothing of it being unique to Ki Performance. Fascinating to me was the fact that my stress levels could be monitored from abroad. I send in a sealed swab of saliva – a component of which immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody, stays stable for 48 hours – to the team in London, and, providing the dhls and FedExes of this world do their job, Ki Performance can test the saliva for the stress hormone cortisol and accurately tell how good a job my desert island is doing
relaxing me.

I ask whether many people are stubborn about adhering to the mandate, tactics and strategies they’re given upon an assessment’s completion. ‘Our business is not to tell people that they have to give something up,’ Parker interjects, ‘but to make them aware of where they are and for them to decide what they want to achieve. We’re not here as a judge and jury. We’re here to work with people.’

You should know that the team at Ki Performance, perhaps by virtue of having worked with the greatest athletes of the past decade, are not interested in mere diagnosis unless they can provide a solution. They are scientists, after all, albeit ones concerned with emotional management as much as exercise and nutrition. Tend to these latter entities ‘and you can change your performance completely’, says Parker.

Feel inspired? Average is dead. All hail excellence.

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