Today, there’s an overwhelming feeling that there is no way to escape a dismal and cheerless “new normal”. But, spend a few minutes with trainer Adam Snow-Bramski
and any bleak thoughts quickly evaporate. His captivating positive outlook and encouraging mantra is to love our bodies, our size, our breath and celebrate our whole selves. As a Les Mills trainer and Personal Development Coach, his joy-filled ethos is rooted in helping people cultivate confidence, from the inside out.
But this cheery outlook wasn’t always part of Snow-Bramski’s psyche. Struggling with his sexuality at a young age, he attempted suicide. Lucky to emerge from that experience, he reframed his negative thoughts to rewire his mindset. Now, his nature is about sparking joy in others and embracing who he is. “To me, Pride means fully showing up, as my truest self, in this life. When we fully show up and own our story, we have the ability to inspire people that are using how we overcame our challenges as their survival guide.”
Brimming with charm, Snow-Bramski has the surety and wisdom of a shaman, with the capacity to spin positivity out of a situation. Of the current pandemic, he says, “You know what I think? Only good can come from it,” he says brightly. “I woke up this morning and I thought to myself, ‘I just feel like the world feels very heavy right now’, and I had to do some reflecting. It’s actually okay that it feels heavy right now because people are expressing so much hurt and pain that they've been holding in for so long. In order to let go of that sometimes you need to feel the heaviness for a bit. So I was upset that I was feeling heavy, and then I was like ‘Okay, I think I'm meant to feel this way right now.’ I think that's such a healthy way to look at it.”
As a trainer, Snow-Bramski inherently knows that hitting the gym is optimal for wellness, but carving out time for mental wellness is paramount. When being kind to your mind has become a necessity in today’s climate, he changed his mental soundtrack for self-care – and it’s something he does every day. “I do coaching, and pieces of the coaching are actually like hypnotherapy. I've been doing breathwork with this incredible practitioner but I meditate every day. Sometimes I've been exploring other resources but the one I started with is Headspace. You can do three minutes. Three minutes is so manageable. And, there's no wrong way you can't do it.”
According to the Journal of Happiness Studies
, physical activity helps ease anxiety and improve your mood. And, no one knows this better than Snow-Bramski. “I am streaming some workouts and I feel like that's a great way to get back to the people that come to my classes. A lot of people from Canada know me from Les Mills, and they've been taking my classes every week. I'm doing it for free and if people want to tip, they can, but I'm just doing it because I know it'll help a lot of people.” And, he’s equally generous with himself, ensuring he gets is own workouts in. “To be honest, I have a key to my gym and it has been incredible. So I've been able to get in and do some workouts.” He also squeezes in sweat sessions as home. “I'm so good at my home workouts I can't even tell you. I'll do the gym maybe once or twice a week, but I'm doing a lot of at-home Les Mills workouts which just keep me super conditioned.”
You're not lost, you're just being redirected to something greater.
When Snow-Bramski was only 15 and struggling with his own sexuality, he attempted suicide. He then made a promise to himself that moving forward, he would endeavor to “take every failure and turn it into purpose.” With an assuredness that comes from surviving difficult times, he provides advice for others in the LGBTQ+ community that might be feeling lost or helpless, especially during the pandemic. “You're not alone. A lot of people feel that way. Sometimes being lost is actually a beautiful thing. Then, you can go and create what and where and how you want to do things, like taking risk and taking responsibility for what you want, rather than just letting life happen to you. So when we're lost, that's a great compass or indicator in our body to say, ‘You're not lost, you're just being redirected to something greater.’” He continues, “’Failing’ at suicide taught me that when life gives you a second chance, it is our job to show up for ourselves and be of service to others. So, I now work with the LGBTQ+ community as a coach, releasing trauma and teaching people how to make radical change so they can live the life they desire.”
I like turning things I hated about myself growing up into my superpowers.
Snow-Bramski ensures inclusion in the LGBTQ+ community through simple kindness. “I think it starts with myself - being kind to myself, non-judgmental, and accepting of myself carries over to the way I treat people, which carries over to the way they treat people and how they treat people… So it's that domino effect. Start with yourself and then you create that ripple effect.” And, sometimes, we need to extend any kindness to ourselves. “I like turning things I hated about myself growing up into my superpowers. I hated my voice. I was like, people are gonna think I'm gay. My voice is girly. And now, I’m literally using what I hated. I'm literally and figuratively using my voice [to speak up]. So, speaking up on social media, speaking up in person, and having really tough conversations with your friends or family [are important]. People don't fully understand until you teach them or share your perspective. They only know what they know. It's being brave enough to have those tough conversations with the people that you want to write off.”
We all have a story, and we've all had struggle, and that's what connects us.
While many people feel they are evolved or “woke”, there are still many trainers or gym owners who might not be aware of LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts in the fitness community. Snow-Bramski highlights how we can all be better allies. “I think, having that attitude that everybody belongs. We all have a story, and we've all had struggle, and that's what connects us. My struggle is being gay or somebody struggles because of the color of their skin, or somebody struggles with weight, or growing up in a single family home… We all struggle. The variables change, whether it's skin, sexuality, money, job, or the house you live in. Understanding that we all struggle and we all do want that validation of acceptance. Everybody wants to be seen and heard at the end of the day.”
An assumption that we are progressive as a society and a fitness community sometimes bypasses the fact that many instructors are still afraid to come out. Snow-Bramski tackles any sort of locker room culture with reassuring words of comfort. “I would say, life is never wrong, I always remind myself of that. Where you are right now is exactly where you're supposed to be. So, I know how hard that internal battle is of, ‘Should I come out, should I not come out’? It's on your mind 24/7. Give yourself some grace to say this choice to come out is yours and yours only, and do it when you feel good about it, and feel it's right.” His constructive advice rings true on various levels, notably when it comes to being tough on ourselves. “A lot of times we make things harder on ourselves. Like when I was healing from the trauma from attempting suicide I remember thinking, ‘God, this is so heavy because I carried this shame for so long.’ Honestly, I worked with my trauma coach around that. Sometimes it's about realizing that heaviness was never ours to carry in the first place and it feels so damn good when you release that. Give yourself grace, give yourself time, know that you're exactly where you need to be, and do it - when you feel ready.”
We can all find comfort through Snow-Bramski’s wisdom, especially the notion of embracing the lows in life. “The lows are really important. When you're feeling those sorts of emotions, it's actually absolutely normal to sit in that space, and we don't need to have to figure it out right now. We don't need to know why this is going on or what the reasoning is.” Though challenging, he suggests people do some self-reflection during this time and give ourselves grace. With his advice, we feel better already.
In celebration of Pride month, Reebok is donating $75,000 to the It Gets Better Project, an LGBTQ+ program that uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world.