Millions of people spend countless hours hoping that one day they will make the Olympic team. The rate of failure is very high. But failure wasn’t an option for Jorge Bonnet. Not only did he make the Olympics, but he did it five times in two different sports. In 1984 and 1988, he was part of the Puerto Rican judo team. In 1992, ’94 and ’98, he made a complete 180 and competed for his country in bobsled. Competition has always been in the forefront of Bonnet’s mind—that drive to succeed started at an early age. And it lead him to where he is today, the CEO and founder of PurMotion, a workout philosophy that focuses on balance and training the way you move.
“It was back when I was 5-6 years old, staying alive from the bullies in the neighborhood,” Bonnet said as to what started out his athletic career, “I needed to defend myself so my father taught me Judo and self-defense. Six months later we started getting back at the bullies. At that moment, my father made it mandatory that my brother and I stick to judo until we earned a black belt. At 15 years old I was invited to join the Puerto Rico national Judo team. In six months, I became the No. 1 seed on the national team and before I knew it, I was in L.A. after getting silver in the Pan Am which was the qualifier for the 1984 games.”
Bonnet trained for years, listening to his coaches old-school ways of preparation. A combination of endurance and heavy lifting was the trend at the time. But Bonnet never agreed with the methodology by which he was taught, but he was too young to argue. But as he got older, he started to notice that training in a more functional way would lead to greater results, and from doubt, a new career was born.
“I started using short running, ropes and a lot of body weight implementation,” Bonnet said, “I was preparing to go to Cuba who was well known to produce elite athletes and the day I stepped in the gym I was in awe. I started realizing it’s more about the system, how do you put together a program day by day month by month to a specific sport. That was fascinating to me. I went back to the Olympics in ’88, I went from 172 to 189, I didn’t do as well, I was 22-23 at the time and said that was enough. Two years pass and I was exposed to bobsled. A totally different dynamic very explosive and didn’t require too much metabolic training.”
After three runs on the bobsled, it was time to get a “real job”. With his connection to the fitness world, Bonnet found work in health care. He enjoyed training, but wasn’t keen on medical school or wearing a shirt and tie for that matter.
“If we are going to come to this world just to work and get a paycheck and pay bills, then I don’t belong here,” remembers Bonnet about his life changing moment, “I said I want to follow my true calling and make a difference. So I took 6-thousand dollars, bought fitness equipment and started training young athletes and baseball players in Alabama. I started from nothing.. From there it grew a little bit and I moved to a new place. I was already developing devices that I could engage my athletes to perform movement patterns that those in the marketplace couldn’t do. I called Life Fitness etc. to see if they had something like that or if they were interested. There was no interest.”
So Bonnet went off on his own on a quest to deliver portable, mulit-functional based workouts for his clients. The big companies had been dictating the definition of fitness for years. Their mission is to buy one machine and perform one movement. Bonnet went out to prove that you need to be in constant motion to get a true workout.
“I struggled to answer, what is PurMotion? It’s really perfecting the art of functional training and changing the way fitness is perceived. Train the way you move and the way you play. That’s what we use; the magic is in the movement. Achieving total balance, pushing, pulling, rotational movement, locomotive—making sure those movements are done in all directions, that’s what we want. It’s all about human movement, it’s about Flow.”
For PurMotion, flow means jumping, catching, rolling on the turf. How can you take those movements on the field, ice, court and create movement in the weight room with a high carry over or transferability to a place where we play. That’s why Bonnet is so passionate about what he does and is using his Olympic credentials to prove its value. And many people have bought into it. Athlete’s Performance Institute has PurMotion machines in its facilities as do many colleges and high schools across the country.
“The philosophy is simple,” Bonnet said, “Moving your body as one integrated unit and high intensity in all directions. The body works as one unit performing in all directions. It’s as simple as that. Ultimately when you achieve or comply with that simple definition you achieve balance and success.”