With so many people putting their bodies and mind in Terrence’s hands, The Luxury Channel went to meet the man himself and find out why….
Terence John walks into the room with a great sense of energy and purpose. However, this strength is underscored by a certain vulnerability and heart that makes him one of the most appealing and engaging characters you could hope to meet and seems to evoke a love-hate relationship with some of his clients.
I can see why clients trust Terence with both their bodies (Pure Pilates) and their minds (through hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming). His manner is calming and joyful all at once.
At a recent dinner party, an illustrious guest list of close friends (some of whom are still clients) gathered to celebrate Terrence in spite of travel difficulties associated with the recent Icelandic ash cloud! However, there was no stopping the adoration. ‘‘Even if I have to swim the Channel – I would swim because for Terrence, you have to come’’ (Christian Louboutin). Terrence changes the lives of his clients – he looks at the whole person in an attempt to strengthen both mind and body.
Tell me about your professional background and early career?
I trained in South Africa under Reg Park, a former Mr. Universe. He was 80 when he taught me, but it was still a privilege. I come from a personal trainer background, where I did a programme called ‘‘Women On Weights.’’ As a result, I worked with a lot of female clients. I was one of ten trainers and I found that I was getting almost ten times better results than any of the other trainers. What made the difference? I talked to my clients, got behind their emotions. When they were going through difficult times, I said, well, how could we deal with these emotions? Whilst we trained, they were resolving issues. By looking at this side, we were getting better results. I can’t help myself. I look at every aspect of well-being.
And then you discovered Pilates?
It was totally new; nobody knew about Pilates or, if they did, they believed it was for ballet dancers. However, a woman from Australia was coming to Pretoria to do a Pilates course. I went along and she did a few tests and said that I had a really good understanding of the body, great balance and said that she would be happy for me to do the course. Pilates took my clients and I to the next level. I realised that you cannot just go to the gym, do cardio, do weights – there is another side. What has happened to our breath, our posture? Pilates is a balance exercise, all to do with breathing, posture and core strength. It helps the unbalanced parts in our body and makes total sense.
You were one of the first trainers to take Pilates to London. What happened next?
I focused on Pure Pilates. It was about the client, the floor and understanding the body. No equipment, nothing from outside to confuse or distract the body. Pilates is such focus and I loved that. Once in London, a client I had worked at Hamiltons Art Gallery with Tim Jefferies. Here I met Sophia Loren and had the privilege to connect with people like Elle Macpherson. I was soon referred to some very famous names. I was very blessed. I know that I was very lucky because once you have one famous client, it snowballs.
Hypnosis and NLP were integrated into your sessions for confidence, relaxation, weight loss and to help clients quit smoking depending on their unique requirements.
I thought that if there is a mind/body connection, then there must be more. So I went to do a course in hypnotherapy for two years. Knowledge is very important to me; if I work with your body, it is a big responsibility and if I work with your mind, it is an even bigger responsibility. Meanwhile, NLP is like hypnotherapy but without the hypnosis. It is all about language. The subconscious mind works in a totally different way to how the conscious mind works. If you use the wrong language with the subconscious mind, it will not accept it. The subconscious does not work with negatives. NLP is a specific language that helps you communicate with your subconscious mind.
So you offer a combination of the three disciplines?
This is the luxury and value of what I offer – total mind and body engagement. When you start training someone, you really get to know them, their issues and their body. If I look at someone’s body, I can immediately see what their issues are. Every mind set creates a certain physical issue. There are certain areas where if you retain water, it shows certain anxieties and fears. The water is protection. Having understood the body, if a client wants to go over to hypnosis, I have a better understanding of their mind because I am equipped with the information.
What is the value of nutrition?
I leave certain things for the people that really know about their topics. When it comes to nutrition, I have always referred every client and every friend to one of the best nutritionists in the world, Vicki Edgson.
You obviously form very special relationships with your clients…Christian made you a pair of bespoke trainers with the traditional Louboutin red soles! I read (in The Times) that Amanda Wakeley comes to you for relaxation before London Fashion Week and Roland Mouret referred to you in ES Magazine as his greatest ‘‘extravagance’’….
I am the plainest, simplest person you will find: what you see is what you get. I am not a fashion icon. I am about my clients, the mind, helping people take back control of their lives. I appreciate all the people that appreciate me. I believe in what I do, and I believe I can help people. I am lucky that these are the incredible people that have been drawn to me.
Your life-story is quite extraordinary: discovered in your murdered mother’s arms as a tiny baby, sent to and from various foster homes as a child, and to the frontline during the civil war in Angola on the brink of adulthood, only for the war to end upon your arrival as the path towards success and helping people came forth. What fortitude, innate or learnt, kept you going?
If you understand where I come from, you will understand where my passion comes from. I have gone through positives and negatives throughout my life and I have, and continue to, learn my lessons. I am very fatalistic and I believe that the universe has always had somewhere for me to go. I discovered the book The Secret, and realised I have always lived my life in this way. I encourage my clients and myself to visualise everything, see the whole picture, so that the body will start taking it on board. Do whatever you can to make your desires true to you. See it, believe it and you will achieve it.
What Terrence’s friends say….
Andre Marais, who had a 26 year career with DeBeers, admires Terrence:
‘‘There are not many people in my life that have added the value that Terrence has. He has fundamentally changed the way that I view my body. I know now that as I get older I am going to be younger – because I can see what Terrence’s teachings are doing for me.’’
Christian Louboutin had this to say of his friend:
“Terrence, since I first met him, has had a strong impact on me. His way to make you work, his way to understand and listen to his clients, to people in general, warms you, carries you; and all of these strong qualities that are upfront in Terrence’s personality give him this benefic attitude that he brings on people. On this, Terrence for me represents the ideal teacher in many ways. I am really happy that he extends his practices now in various domains because he is capable of soooo much. And always was!”
Fashion designer Amanda Wakeley had this to say:
“I work with Terrence on Pure Pilates….it never ceases to amaze, uplift and motivate me. I am amazed that such simple floor-based exercises remain so challenging but it motivates me to take my body to the next level of strength and flexibility (our ultimate anti-ageing tool)….and the deep breathing is a definite mood enhancer.”
Tel: 07894 219 500