Updated: Jan 15
The Wholeman Academy, disrupting the traditional narrative around the men’s health and wellbeing.
Quite frankly, according to CEO of Whole Man Academy, Anthony Astbury, because men aren’t talking to each other; “Who fu**ing knows?!”
Unless guys are watching sport or drinking beers, they just don’t communicate that easily with each other, and this is something that the Whole Man Academy wants to change.
The Wholeman Academy is a living and breathing magazine for men - a cool coaching and personal development space that every man can choose to be part of the conversation. This pioneering group create spaces for men to talk, through the magazine, digital platform and its events.
“Whilst women have a huge wealth of social spaces that invite discussion and confidences, men have ‘man-made’ very few situations that allow them to actually, really connect” says Anthony.
“We like to think men are from Venus and women are from Mars, but we are both on the same planet and we both have basic wellbeing needs; one of the most important being communication.”
The workplace does not lend itself to sharing confidences. Anthony discloses an example of when he worked in the City; he knew for a fact that one of his male colleagues was struggling with mental health issues but when asked if he was ‘ok’, the answer was a very curt ‘all fine’.
High pressured work environments don’t let men talk, they let things build up instead, but pressure has to come out... insert Whole Man Academy and let men do the real talking, and give them a way to release their feelings and emotions in a supportive environment.
Fast forward to a time where men are living in a modern age- what does this perfect man look like? “The perfect man doesn’t exist” says Anthony, “He’s not a one size fit all, but he is fulfilled, so the answer would be; total fulfillment”.
According to Anthony there are four main tips to help men along this path: move, breathe, think and drink, “When you wake up you should look at how you start your day, as this has a big impact on how your day unfolds” recommends Anthony. “Getting active gets your body and mind set for the challenges ahead and gets you in the zone.”
“Next, taking a breath, allows you to pause and connect with your body, and finally think, create a logical strategy and an opportunity to reflect. Oh, and drink, drink lots of fluids to keep you hydrated.”
The Whole Man Academy is a revolution for men. Unlike a traditional ‘meet’ which would put most men off, the Whole Man Academy has a modern, dynamic approach, think straight talking, beer and burgers as opposed to round circles and being forces to share your problems.
The Whole Man Academy is a movement, a drive to create a culture that disrupts the narrative around the men’s health and wellbeing, and to alter the stereotypical expectations that men should be strong, stoic, and silent. Through various channels and its insightful and immersive events, The Whole Man Academy aims to appeal to men of all ages and all walks of life.
“Since September 2018, The Whole Man Academy has been creating spaces for men to talk. Our public and corporate events, workshops, and 1-2-1 coaching sessions are designed to help men build a strong mindset and improve their resilience in today’s challenging and demanding world” says Anthony.
They use fresh and enticing venues, for example number 1 Saville Road, home of luxury menswear brand Gieves and Hawkes hosted a recent event on male styling with guest and ambassador David Gandy in tow. “Working with an international style icon who happens to just be a really normal guy with the same issues and concerns as most men created a really enjoyable evening.”
With panel discussions and a more informal set-up, crucially, the events and workshops advocate openness but aim to make everyone feel equal and relaxed. “It’s saying to guys you don’t have to talk if you don’t want to but allowing them to feel more comfortable going to something where people are going to talk about the important things in life.”
The statistics about men’s mental health are alarming, stating that men complete suicide at more than three times the rate of women* WHO, so it’s refreshing to see a group tackling ways to help support men to open up in new ways.
The way men’s health and wellbeing is approached in much debate globally, with many researchers, in particular Ronald Levant, of the American Psychological Association and professor at the University of Akron, identifying that the support for men vs women is lacking, and that actually our approach to tackling men’s concerns should be different.
“Men seek support on life and their wellbeing less than women, and when they do they often struggle to express their emotions” says Anthony. “Men respond better to collaboration, goal setting, and straightforward discussions, so this is what we aim to achieve.”
In essence, as the world continues to change, men’s roles continue to be re-defined, and challenges of day-to-day life become greater, it’s refreshing to see a group like The Whole Man Academy looking for new ways to support men and open up the conversation.
Through their super cool events, inspiring content allowing The Whole Man Academy allows men to come together, learn new ways to evolve personally, feel enlightened, and learn from each other. Its man-made and it’s the future.
For more information on The Whole Man Academy, their latest events and workshops, visit Whole Man Academy for details. Follow them on @wholemanacademy and watch our interview now.