Fitness expert Michael Polito just wasn’t satisfied with conventional exercise programs or fitness regimens. A professional photographer (see his work here), personal trainer, and martial arts aficionado with decades of experience, Polito disliked how conventional fitness programs lost touch with the body’s natural movement. “The ‘workout’ approach isn’t working,” says Polito.
Drawing inspiration from the body-movement exercises he knew and loved, Polito took matters into his own hands, creating the Progressive Movement Method. By combining practices that required no additional equipment or specific setting — think mobility training, martial arts exercises, yoga poses, or “ground flow” training using only the floor for support — Polito hoped to encourage his clients to incorporate movement and play naturally into their daily lives.
Polito officially founded his company about three years ago under the name Old School Street Fitness, but he’s been building his clientele for decades. His philosophy is surprisingly simple: exercise should be enjoyable, engaging, and incorporated into everyday life, not a task carried out begrudgingly in 30-minute intervals once or twice a week. “It’s like going to church,” he says. “You go to church, you’re a Christian, and when you leave, you don’t stop being a Christian. You carry it with you.”
What does a Progressive Movement Method training session look like? It varies from client to client, says Polito. Each session is tailored to a client’s individual needs or goals. For instance, a volleyball player might want to improve their reaction time or flexibility, so Polito would provide movement exercises to hone these skills. In the winter months, Polito might implement cold exposure sessions, which naturally promote healthy blood flow and immunity. “Gyms have even caught onto this, and they’re incorporating cold baths into what they offer their members,” he says.
Polito trains clients at his studio in Poughkeepsie, provides in-home personal training and athletic training at gyms, offers nutrition counseling and does motivational speaking. He finds it all “extremely self-fulfilling. I love getting letters, Facebook messages, or phone calls from people —sometimes people I haven’t even met before — telling me that I’ve helped them. It’s really nice to see that I’m helping people in a very natural, organic way.”
Click here for Michael’s 10 Tips for Staying Active in the Cold