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“There Are Multiple Layers of Learning”: AJ & Georgie’s Onnit Story

“There Are Multiple Layers of Learning”: AJ & Georgie’s Onnit Story

Written by
May 16, 2022
Updated November 30, 2023

For some of us, school was no place to learn. You had to sit still for hours, stare at a chalkboard, and get lectured on concepts that seemed to have no bearing on your life—or did nothing to capture your interest. (As Adam Sandler said in Billy Madison, “Chlorophyll? More like BORE-ophyll!”)

Fortunately, some schools today are changing, due to an understanding that we don’t all learn the same way. And in the fitness world, personal trainers are changing too, in an effort to help clients understand what they’re doing in training and find ways to enjoy the process more. AJ Londono and Georgie Boynton, a couple with a fitness business in south Florida, know this all too well, and train their clients—which have included children—with different techniques that not only make working out more effective, but also not something you can sleep through like a junior high biology class.

AJ and Georgie spoke to Shane Heins, Onnit’s Director of Community Engagement, to tell their Onnit Story—part of our ongoing series of interviews with people who have made inspiring life changes with Onnit’s support. See the video of AJ and Georgie’s interview below, along with an edited transcript of the highlights, time-stamped so you can find those moments in the video. You can stay up to date with Onnit Stories by following Onnit’s Instagram TV (IGTV), where a new one appears every other week.

AJ Londono & Georgie Boynton Show Notes

4:10 – How AJ and Georgie Intersected with Onnit

AJ Londono: I was a huge fan of Joe Rogan’s podcast from the beginning, and that’s how I found Onnit. When I learned that Onnit had training certifications, I did everything I could to get to Austin to take one. It opened a new world to me that I didn’t know existed. Being a trainer already, I left that certification thinking, “How have I not injured myself or the people I work with yet?” [Laughs]

I had an ego death and then rebirth, due to Onnit. I had to build myself back up as my own first client, using Onnit’s education to learn good movement skills. Onnit’s teachings gave me a manual for what the human body is really meant to do, versus just letting your body be on autopilot. I got addicted to Onnit, and I kept coming back to take every course you guys had to offer. Fast forward a few years, and I was teaching a hot kettlebell class at a yoga studio, and Georgie walked in…

Georgie Boynton: I was working as a trainer and living in Vermont. I went on spring break in Florida, and a friend got me some free class passes to a yoga studio, so I took a class. I had never picked up a kettlebell before, or done a hot yoga class, and it ended up being the most intense class I had ever taken. It blew my mind—all the different movements, and the functional way of training they had. AJ was the instructor, and afterward, I picked his brain for probably 20 minutes about what I could do to incorporate more of this kind of training into my lifestyle. He gave me some things to do and…

AJ: And, fast forward, she moved to Florida! And then started taking all the Onnit courses like I did.

Georgie: If I could take the Durability cert 100 times, I would. It allows you the longevity to keep doing any other fitness practice you like. 

11:30 – Life Before Onnit

AJ: In the early 2000s, I was a trainer in a mixed martial arts gym, doing strength and conditioning classes and working with a lot of professional fighters. At the same time, I was planning on going to medical school. By the time I had taken the MCAT, which is an entrance exam for medical school, I was completely addicted to the gym. It got me to look at health in a different way, and I latched onto that community. I forgot about medicine and decided I had to train people as a full-time career.

Two or three years later, when I went to Austin for the Onnit cert, it really felt like a rebirth. That’s when the 2.0 version of me began. Since then, my whole business and brand has been about teaching other people to create 2.0 versions of themselves. I want people to look at life like it’s a video game, enjoying it to its fullest potential. 

Georgie: My background is movement of all types. I was born and raised in a small town—Rutland, Vermont. I grew up running pretty much barefoot in the mountains. My mom had me playing every sport you can think of. I did swim team in the summer, dance year-round, soccer, and even flag football at one point. My mom was super adamant about me being active and trying different things. But at the time, I hated it. I didn’t want to do all those things! I wanted to do my own thing. But, looking back, she gave me the best foundation possible, which is body awareness and the ability to pick up new skills. Today, I thank her for that. 

But I always wanted to find my own path, and if everybody was doing this one thing, I was going to go the other direction and see what was over there. After high school, when we were all trying to figure out what to do with our lives, I decided to get into funeral directing. I went to school for mortuary science, and I was a mortician for about five years.

The biggest thing I took away from that time is that absolutely nothing is guaranteed for you in this life. You have to show up every day and be grateful. Do what you love, because you never know what’s going to happen. When that lesson really settled in, it showed me what my passion was. I would work funerals, and it would be really heavy. Then, at the end of the day, I would go and either work out or teach workout classes. That became my passion.

So, I essentially took a 180 from being a funeral director to being a health and life coach. Right around that time is when I met AJ in Florida, and then decided to move there.

22:20 – Two pillars of the Onnit System

AJ: There are two components of Onnit’s education system that have made all the difference for me: “Unity in Diversity,” and “Give to Empower.” Those pillars taught me to try every modality I could and learn from whoever I could, as well as shift my career from just handing out workouts to clients to actually coaching and teaching them new things, and seeing how they could apply fitness to the rest of their lives.

Once I met Georgie in 2017, we continued on the educational path together, and, starting in 2020, we started our own brand—ELVT Movement. It’s about elevating humanity through the way we breathe, move, and feel. Community is one of the biggest components, because that was one of the biggest things I gained from Onnit. The team, the family that was created through the training, was not only a huge help but also a continuous motivator. Whenever things got hard, the Onnit community was there, saying “You can do this. Here’s a hack, or a tip.”

Georgie is a beautiful mover, but I used to be like a puppet with the puppeteer asleep above the stage. [Laughs] I had to learn movement skills from scratch. We both come from two different ends of the spectrum, so we get to add in these pieces of contextual knowledge now, and that allows us to work with such a wide demographic of people.

Georgie: The purpose and message that we share with everybody that we teach and interact with is, “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.” It’s the intention behind what you do that’s important. We’ve done everything from arm balance and inversion workshops to bodyweight training, and anything else that allows you to move and maybe learn a new skill along the way and connect with other people.

28:20 – Lessons from Working with Kids

AJ: We had the opportunity to take a fitness class from a really popular summer camp here in south Florida and replace it with a movement-based, social-emotional learning program. It’s how we teach people at ELVT, but we turned it into a gamified system.

The amazing thing about little kids is getting to see the spectrum of abilities they have: some of them are natural movers like Georgie was, and others, usually city kids, didn’t really move much growing up. But with any child, you’re able to communicate at a super high level physically. They’re able to understand you at a physical level and mimic what you’re doing. That transformed a lot of the way that we coach—realizing that we could teach super advanced things through mimicry rather than verbal conversation.

As you go up in age, physical lessons and verbal cues meet somewhere in the middle, and it becomes a lot more about teaching someone the idea behind the concept. Their body might not be able to get there today, but they can understand the idea behind the position you’re asking them to get into. So teaching kids helped us teach older demographics too.

Georgie: Teaching kids is so rewarding, and it’s so challenging at the same time. It was quite honestly one of the hardest things I think we’ve ever done. The amount of reaction training is profound, because kids’ attention spans can be here and there. We had to be quick on our toes and completely animated versions of ourselves at all times. We were walking around feeling like video game characters.

AJ: To give some context, these were 40-minute increments where we would be working with 20 eight-year old boys. Then they’d leave and it would be 20 12 year-old girls. So it was a completely different energy, and a completely different way of communicating. 

Georgie: It was a super amazing way to learn about yourself and others, and the best ways to communicate. So, new coaches out there, get in front of some kids.

33:50 – The Layers of Learning

AJ: I would say that there are multiple layers of learning. You can learn something from an ideological standpoint. You can learn something by mimicking a movement physically. And then you can learn something intuitively—like tying your shoes—where you can do it with minimal mind currency. So our trick when it comes to coaching big audiences has been trying to teach people in those three layers. And if I don’t get them in all three, can I at least catch their attention with one of those? We try to entertain people and teach them at the same time. 

37:10 – Georgie and AJ’s favorite supplements

Georgie: I really loved the Total Nitric Oxide® as a pre-workout. I loved the way it made me feel. But my all-time favorite supplement that Onnit makes is the protein powder. I love cooking with it, drinking it, eating it, smelling it. [Laughs]

AJ: For me, it’s a tie between the Alpha BRAIN® and Shroom Tech® SPORT, with the cordyceps mushrooms. When I found out about cordyceps, and how it’s been used for hundreds of years, it sold me. Honestly, Shroom Tech® SPORT is one of the best natural supplements for workout energy that I’ve ever tried. I actually feel a tangible difference when I use it. Alpha BRAIN® has an effect that’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it. Alpha BRAIN® was part of my daily routine for a long time, and when I stopped taking it, I felt the difference going through the day without it. 

40:05 – Their Favorite Foods

AJ: You can’t ask us a question like this. We can just go all day. [Laughs]

41:45 – Their Favorite Fitness Tools

Georgie: The eight-kilogram Onnit kettlebell. I call it “Pinky,” because of the little pink rings on the handle. If I could only use one tool, that would be it.

AJ: For me it’s the 10-pound steel mace. I can use some kettlebell methodology when I’m working with it, and some suspension training methodology too. But I have all the tools in our garage. It looks like a little Onnit store in there. We use all of them, probably daily. 

Georgie: We do it all because we’re always trying to give others the knowledge to empower themselves. I mean, we’re not your average trainers where we want to be your trainer for life. We want to give you the information and the skill development that you need to move forward and take ownership of your own training. We’re just paying it forward over and over again.

Onnit Academy is the most comprehensive database of information related to Unconventional Training, a unique new form of fitness methodology that focuses on functional strength, conditioning, and agility using the most efficient means and tools possible. The online database includes articles, videos, tutorials, and workouts featuring alternative implements like kettlebells, sandbags, steel maces, steel clubs, battle ropes, and more.
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