Nike Well Collective’s Julius Burphy speaks on Music and Movement

Nike Well Collective’s Julius Burphy speaks on Music and Movement

At the top of this month we had the fantastic opportunity to head down to Nike’s First-Ever Wellness Festival. It was a day of movement, mindfulness and sound all supported by the Nike Well Collective. The collective, made up of Nike Trainers, Coaches, DJ’s, communities, presenters, wellness experts, nutrition experts and more came together to create a holistic wellness experience like no other.

During the day we had the opportunity to take part in Julius Burphy’s Stepper Ton class which had us stepping, moving and sweating. We had the opportunity to speak to London’s favourite Step Aerobic Instructor and find out more about his love for music and movement.

How do you believe music enhances the workout/step experience for participants?

I’ve always been a firm believer in music being a powerful tool that can enhance any workout. The beat of the music helps my step members synchronise their steps with the rhythm and maximises the effectiveness of their movements. Good music is often a distraction from discomfort or fatigue, this allows my members to focus on their rhythm and movement. I also believe that music creates a community and connection amongst participants. When you get to learn a new step routine with everyone it builds a sense of unity and belonging within the group which enhances the overall enjoyment of the workout and supportive exercise community.

Are there specific types of music that you find particularly effective for step workouts, and why?

I would say HipHop/Rnb due to the slow but uptempo beats making it easier for my members to follow along.  Also I believe there are so many great HipHop/Rnb songs a lot of us grew up with, which makes it fun to step and sing along to. I also tend to incorporate Afro beats music which has amazing rhythm along with Brazilian Funk, K-pop and Bollywood songs. 

How do you adapt your approach to music and movement for different skill levels or class demographics?

I teach 2 different routines in one class. For each routine that I create I have two song options, One is slower than the other. For beginners or older adults, I focus on simple and easy-to-follow movements with fewer directional changes and less intricate footwork which gives everyone more time to learn each step before taking on challenging sequences and variations to keep them engaged and motivated.

Have you noticed any psychological or emotional benefits for participants when combining music and step exercises?

Yes, I noticed their overall mood changing whenever I play upbeat, energetic music. It really elevates my members spirits and boosts their overall mood during exercise. Many of my members either work 9-5 jobs or are university students going through exams and course work, which often has them feeling tired and stressed. I’m always happy to hear good feedback letting me know my class makes them happy, positive and energised both during and after the workout.

Do you have any favourite musical artists or genres that you consistently include in your step classes?

I don’t have a favourite artist but my favourite genre would be HipHop Rnb. I feel like I’m always able to create some amazing routines to this genre and some of my best classes are to this music genre.

 How do you choose music that not only complements the physical aspects of step but also engages participants on a mental and emotional level?

Honestly I choose music based on what I like. If I love a song I become a lot more creative with the routines I teach to my class members. Every routine is based around a selection of music with a tempo that aligns with the pace of the step movements. Upbeat songs with a consistent rhythm work well for keeping participants energised and motivated during high-intensity portions of the workout. I also use songs with slower tempos or more dynamic changes for warm-ups, stretches, or slower-paced segments, I guess I’m lucky everyone in class loves my taste in music but since my class members are so diverse I regularly gather feedback from my members to understand their music preferences, reactions, and suggestions. I try to encourage open communication and collaboration to add a playlist that resonates with the collective needs and desires of the group.

Have you ever experimented with incorporating live music or different soundscapes into your step classes, and what was the impact on participants?

No I haven’t, but definitely something I am willing to try out.

How does it feel working with Nike, a brand that’s seen as synonymous with both music and movement?

Working with such a forward-thinking company inspires my creativity and pushes my boundaries in terms of integrating music and movement in a unique and impactful way. Nike commitment to pushing the limits of human performance can be motivating and inspiring for instructors like me.

As a trainer you must have so much kit, what are your top 3 selects from Nike you can’t live without?

I can’t live without my Nike Solo Swoosh HoodieNike Flex Rep 4.0 shorts and Nike Free Metcon 5 trainers.