Hi, I am Jerry Dhillon MSc, a Paleo fitness and lifestyle coach, personal trainer, presenter, and the founder of Evolution in Fitness. I am based in Barnes, London. I specialise in Paleolithic fitness and advocate a Paleolithic lifestyle. I believe this offers an optimal health fitness model.
I established Evolution in Fitness to provide a practical and holistic fitness lifestyle solution which is available for every ‘body’. A body can only be ‘fit’ for a purpose – which I believe is in being adaptable to our natural environment. That is why my creative programs are grounded in variety and balance. It is a completely effective solution to counteract the mismatch between the modern lifestyle and our ancestral heritage. I have taught Paleolithic fitness to clients as an independent personal trainer and in group sessions since 2010.
I have a MSc in Exercise And Sports specialising in Sports Injury and Physiology. My dissertation was titled “To what extent can Paleolithic fitness be integrated into the modern extant western lifestyle?” I am the co-creator of HEALTH Unplugged the UK’s first holistic Paleo conferencing event. I also mentor and assess students looking to become qualified Personal Trainers. I am qualified to REPs Level 4 as a personal trainer, and a specialist in corrective exercise and low back pain. For four years I was a swimming coach to primary children, teaching them to swim, and developing their skills for pre-competitive swimming. Other qualifications include Cross Fit, and gymnastics. I do what I do to share my experiences and demonstrate the effectiveness of what I teach. I will never ask you to do something that I am not prepared to do myself. I know what it feel like to be in your position, as I have been there.
I grew up in awe of my childhood hero, Bruce Lee and this is how I gravitated towards martial arts. I practised Jeet Kune Do (JKD), Muay Thai, Judo, and boxing into my late 20’s. In addition, I also practised meditation, and performed bodyweight conditioning. My journey towards my current design of fitness began when issues arose around a genetic blood disorder which I have called Thalasemmia. Thalasemmia occurs as a evolutionary adaptation to malaria. For me, it resulted in the need to have a splenectomy. I had been in a good state of physical health before the surgery, and it was a big psychological and physiological struggle to try to get back to where I had been. I became apathetic and it resulted in a decade of regressive health and wellness. I had a professional career in IT which exacerbated my condition. With years of late night nights and fast living, my imbalanced lifestyle finally caught up with me. This led to neck spasms from keeping a poor kyphotic posture in front of my desk at work, counteracted with little physical work. I began gaining weight, became weak and lacked energy. Further complications arose when I started suffering from severe gallstone pains. I became alarmed at how I struggled to function as a shadow of my former self, and it upset me that my growing children would view me in a state of disrepair. Hence, this time before electing to have a cholysectomy I decided to pursue alternative measures.
I began by practicing yoga and meditation, and went running. I received temporary relief from chiropractic, osteopathic, physiotherapy, acupuncture care and Chinese medicine amongst many other courses of treatment. After trial and error I began to eat less processed foods. I ate according to my blood type (which is ‘O’ and is focused on an ancestral diet of being a hunter gatherer). Then my diet progressed to become gluten free. I wanted to regain some of my previous fitness and to be a positive role model for my children. I’ve always been a firm believer in bodyweight exercises. I hated and was frustrated being in the gym environment because I could never sustain being in there for long, easily got bored and would relapse. Then, I was introduced to Crossfit and revelled in the results of the high intensity workouts.
The philosophical approach of JKD has always held resonance with me. What made Bruce Lee’s method unique was that he adapted a combination of 26 different fighting styles to make it his own. He rejected what didn’t work, and accepted what did. A term he likened this to was ‘to be like water’ – in having no form, but having a form, being fluid, and adaptable.
I began to experiment with high intensity and outdoor training. There was a freedom about being outdoors that I never got in a sterile indoor gym environment. However, I suffered from a few high repetitive injuries due to the intensity and the nature of the workouts. I reassessed that for fitness to be truly balanced, it needs to hit a wider variety of fitness components and one that replicates moving well in our natural environment. I believe for this to be a healthy choice it couldn’t be an elitist ideal. Instead I chose simply to strive for personal excellence, which is relative to every person. That is how Paleolithic fitness found me.
The result was that in my 40’s and now leading into my 50’s I have attained a superior overall level of physical well-being despite my setbacks. My performance now is on par or better than many ‘fit’ endurance athletes such as middle/long distance runners and triathletes despite my Thalassemia. I have managed to correct my postural imbalances, am stronger, faster, more flexible and agile than I have been in many years.
Modern lifestyles are continually becoming sedentary, with the increasing prevalence of “time efficient” and “energy saving” technology, activity levels are dropping dramatically. We become less able to meet our daily needs (which have become regressive over time) when movement becomes or is inhibited.
Food lacks adequate nutrients and bio-availability. The same food products can be purchased all year round in any part of the country. The major supermarket chains are able to offer these goods cheaply with longer lasting shelf life and more choice. Local, seasonal produce is not the norm. This has resulted in large weekly shops full of additives. The nutritional value of food is questionable if it is not perishable. Fast food, high carbohydrates, low fat, artificial sweeteners and ready made meals are prevalent and affordable.
We continually rush and try to fill our days with more. Stress levels are rising without adequate mechanism to release the catabolic state. Sleep is important for our mental and physical recovery. We are sleeping less in the modern era. Back in the 1800’s the average amount of sleep was 10 hours, however now due to the marvels of technology we get by on 6 hours or less. We have information overload and technology readily available 24-7. Convenience, choice and marketing allow us to make misinformed choices.
However this is something that we can control if we so choose. It is easier to maintain your state of homeostatis, leading to a likelihood of common health problems. I challenge that, and desire to help you also to break that cycle.
Change is always happening, yet the effects of evolution take time to affect us. Our bodies have not been able to keep pace with the rapid change of technology during the last 300 generations. Therefore we are closer to our ancestors, and simply have not evolved to undertake such lifestyles in such a short space of time. There needs to be a realignment with our evolutionary heritage. Survival depends on functional or practical movement, and is required to adapt and learn within an environment. The balance may occur by finding a rhythm between the modern age whilst attempting to replicate an ancestral lifestyle.
My philosophy about wellbeing and fitness has been shaped from a combination of the realisation of my cumulative personal experiences, scientific research and from an evolutionary perspective. So much so that I completed my MSc in Sports and Exercise in 2013, with an original qualitative research dissertation titled “To what extent can Paleolithic fitness be integrated into the modern extant western lifestyle?”. I utilise a variety of mechanisms and have been influenced by a diverse range of sources such as martial arts, gymnastics, yoga, meditation, strength and conditioning, strong man, parkour; and observing natural movement in the young, in the animal kingdom, and in indigenous peoples. Have some foundational work I look to introduce more playful elements. I am continually learning and evolving my research, practices, and views. I use this to see how we can better maintain a sense of our form, function, history and to effectively express our evolutionary biology.
Being of service to others is the highest calling that I can offer. For me it is a passion and lifestyle choice. I believe there is an essential need to maintain a varied lifestyle in terms of what we do, how we do it, when we do it, how much we do, what we eat, how we live, how we operate in society and having the joy, discipline, strength and agility of mind to do it.