Women's Health
November 2000

Spoon nemesis and all round mind-coach Uri Geller is better known for his powers of mental agility than his sporting prowess, but that doesn't stop him from motivating you into getting off the sofa and kicking butt. Claire Davies takes her chances

You've just launched a series of kickbocing videos, Maturi Kickboxing Fitness, with fitness instructor Matt Fiddes. Forgive me for saying so, but you don't particularly strike me as the kickboxing type. How did this project come about ?

The unique thing about this fitness video is that it provides the participant with a 'Mindpower' coach, as well as a fitness expert. Most exercise videos end up abandoned and dusty after the first few weeks oif use, because of one simple factor - lack of motivation. This workout is different because the motivational messages delivered are very strong - it's designed to keep the user focussed and to help them get the most from their workout.

Sounds sensible, but how does it work ?: Isn't momentum lost by having to 'focus the mind' every five minutes ?

I guess t would be, but it doesn't work like that. There are separate parts to the video, with the mind coaching delivered first after which you're straight into the workout. I pop up again at the end, during the cool down, to reinforce the initial messages, it actually flows together very well.

So you don't actually participate in any kickboxing yourself ?

No. My role is purely motivational. That's not to say that I don't do a lot of exercise myself - my own routine's pretty rigorous.

Spill the beans ?

Well, I've been into exercising since I was a kid, but my routine nowadays is pretty much this, get up around 6:30-7:00am, and do an hour on the bike in my exercise studio. Before I do that, I print out all my emails so that I can answer them while cycling.

Blimey - telepathically you men ?

No - I handwrite the replies on the email and scan them to the people that look after my website, who then type them up and send them. After I've done that I eat breakfast - lots of carbohydrates like cereal and bread. I burn about 5000 calories a day so it's important to kep my energy levels up. After that, I use my time to write, take phone calls, see people - it's amazingly varied. I could be chatting to teenagers with motivational problems one day, visiting a cancer ward the next. I have a great life and it's nice to be able to give something back.

And all this burns off 5000 calories?

No, not quite! I walk for about three hours every afternoon - wherever I am, whatever the weather. If I'm at home I always take my dogs with me. My walks aren['t purely for exercise purposes - in fact, I treat them more as meditational. When I get back I carry on working, although I do this hanging upside down from a specially designed piece of equipment in my gym. I look like a bat. I've got special pens from NASA that work when you're upside down so that I can continue writing - I write columns for publications all over the world and host a topical chat show which airs coast-to-coast in the states.

And you hang upside down because...?

It's great for increasing the blood flow to the head and 'thinking power'! I think it must be fairly good for my hair as well - it hasn't started falling out yet, and is still fairly dark.

I must remember to pass that tip onto my Dad. Do you ever relax ?

Well, I don't ever specifically 'relax' per se. As so much of my work is a creative process, I ind that it's quite relaxing in tiself. If I just stopped and did nothing, I'd be bored in two seconds flat. I try to stay sharp by constantly using my mind and doing things that are aesthetic and fun. I think all our lives are moving away from materialism - it's much more important to do something you enjoy, something that inspires you. During the '70s, I was very materialistic and on a huge ego trip. Eventually I realised that you can't take it with you - it's far better to do something meaningful, if you can - and I'm very lucky to be in a position where I can do just that.

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