Madison-based Focal Point Training Reimagines Sustainable Health

Madison’s one and only exercise studio of its kind is taking a fresh approach to health. The private, local gym focuses on one-on-one sessions wherein Tyler Smith—owner and founder of Focal Point Training–helps clients to eat better, sleep better, and reduce stress in a way that many of us have yet to consider – hypnotism.

Frankly, it is an intimidating concept. Most of us can recall hypnotic portrayals in pop-culture—the dreary eyed psychologists swinging a pocket watch back and forth like a pendulum to the cadence of his own drowsily chanted instruction—“You are getting very sleepy.” But this iconic and perhaps infamous, definitely antiquated caricature, distilled from life and fashioned for amusement, is just that–entertainment. Today, hypnotism has been utilized in a plethora of disciplines, and is commonly employed as a means of self-improvement, thanks to the heightened focus and concentration it offers.

At Focal Point Training, clients are not being hypnotized into a sleep-like state but rather a state of mind where they can learn to build up their own positive self-narrative. “The narrative is your subconscious, and whether you’re aware of it or not you have some sort of self-narrative,” says Tyler, “everyone is their own hypnotist. Your thoughts create your world and changing your self-narrative to be more positive can have a great impact on your life.” Fair enough, but how does it work in practice?

The Focal Point Training philosophy is based on the idea that movement and exercise can lead to a heightened sense of awareness. This heightened sense of awareness elevates your mood, leading you into a relaxed state of heightened suggestibility and overall positivity. In other words, the exercise itself is the one holding that shiny pocket watch. According to Tyler, it is in the state of increased relaxation and awareness where hypnotic suggestion becomes the most powerful, providing one with the tools to sweeten that sour self-narrative that is keeping you out of the gym.

Driving the message of positive self-narrative through meditative exercise has been Tyler’s mission since he opened Focal Point Training in 2015. Tyler became a certified hypnotist in 2014 and started as a personal trainer at a commercial gym in 2012. He picked up on a pattern of negative, self-critical thought that many of his clients were experiencing.

Many would come into the large, commercial gym with worn down and repeatedly revived aspirations to once and for all kick the unhealthy habits to the curb, start a new fitness routine of regular workouts, and improve nutrition. They are excited, drawn into the enthusiasm of the gym and ready to try something new. However, after a few weeks, the workouts are challenging and time consuming, life presents new demands and shifts priorities, and the once hopeful fall back into old habits. The new diet and fitness routine are out the window. The story is familiar to most.  Then, clients would feel like they had failed, having been unable to keep up with some prescribed workout routine. “And the worst part is, they attribute that failure to themselves when it is actually a failure of the fitness industry,” describes Tyler, “The fitness industry sets unrealistic expectations and people feel bad about themselves when they can’t get there, but in reality very few people can actually achieve those types of extreme results.”

This guilt eventually puts clients back in the gym, but often, instead of repeating the last failure, they fall into the next fitness trend, like peloton or hot yoga. “We hear people raving about the magic of High Intensity Interval Training or the Keto diet and think to ourselves, ‘This is it! This is what I need,’ only to lead to another unsuccessful attempt at weight loss,” Says Tyler.

He watched the scenario play out in many of his clients while working at a commercial gym in Madison. New clients would stroll in ecstatic about a new workout plan only to fall off the
boat and back into old habits within weeks. Tyler calls it the broken cycle of fitness. At the end of the day, “fitness” is an industry that makes money from every latest and greatest “health” trend. Much good has come out of our collectively heightened concern with wellness, but with it has come an unavoidable array of distractions. Whether it is the new, life changing spin class or the sweat-proof, booty boosting leggings
that are “critical” to a feel-good workout, the main motivation of the fitness industry is not to promote health and wellness; but to make money, as evidenced by recent clothing trends and best seller lists. Or most noticeably the gyms sprinkled about
like coffee shops; their tinted, floor-to-ceiling windows beckoning at our insecurities from more city blocks and suburban strip malls than ever before.

So instead of continuing to watch his clients repeatedly fall into the Broken Cycle of Fitness, Tyler created his own style of exercise that incorporates the values of meditation, relaxation and hypnosis—and he hopes to share it with Madison. Focal Point Training recently expanded into a new facility on Park Street and is continuing to take in new clients. The Focal Point style of exercise is flexible and adjustable.  Tyler works with clients of all ages and abilities to help them reimagine what it means to be healthy and rediscover ways to achieve their goals. According to Tyler, “Every individual is unique, and the Focal Point approach is to create workouts that are sustainable, safe and best suited for you.”

Focal Point Training is a private studio gym where you don’t have to deal with the
distractions of a larger commercial gym. This privacy not only aids the comfort of clients but is key to creating a calming aesthetic where clients can become relaxed and more self-aware. Each session is 60-90 minutes. The first portion of each session consists of a custom workout where Tyler teaches proper weight training techniques.
The workouts end with 5-10 minutes of meditation to reinforce the positive mindset that was built up during the workout. Tyler’s goal is to provide each client with the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. Learning to exercise for yourself and by yourself is the best way to create long lasting success. The Focal Point Training style is all about sustainability. Eventually, many of Tyler’s clients “graduate” from the Focal  Point Training process and apply what they’ve learned at their own gym of choice. Tyler describes Focal Point Training as an investment in your health. The initial investment at Focal Point can lead to returns that are realized throughout the rest of your life.

The value of your health is priceless, but Tyler aims to make his services as affordable as possible. Focal Point Training is currently offering a $99 introductory special where new clients can learn the basics across three sessions. Join Tyler at Focal Point Training and discover how these meditative work outs can be the first step towards reversing negative thought patterns, defining your self-narrative, boosting your mood, and fixing the broken cycle of fitness.

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