British freerunner Tim “Livewire” Shieff is one of my favorite athletes. Great creativity, impressive strength, and a ton of fun to watch on video. When I hope to move better, I try to think of how Tim would do it. His talent was rewarded in 2009 when he won the Barclaycard World Freerunning Championship, and again in 2011 when he won the Red Bull Art of Motion. As a member of Storm Freerun, he is a busy guy performing on a variety of programs, and he even had a spot on Disclosure’s music video for their song “You and Me.”
In between his world travels, he was kind enough to answer some questions that I had for him. Check it out:
Would you break down a week of your training schedule in terms of how you keep your body and mind prepared for the rigors of free running?
I have no schedule. I get out when I’m free and motivated to train. I don’t try to force anything or create routines, as I get bored quickly and lose motivation. I do however do yoga when I get a chance. No favorite types of workout. Sometimes I really like gymnastics centres, so I’ll go for months enjoying it. And other times, I don’t, and prefer to train outside for months instead. Whatever gets me pumped. There’s no aims or pattern really, other than trying to be spontaneous and react like a kid to the environment around me by exploring constantly.
You and Damien Walters have been putting out some really fun videos showing creative calisthenics and lots of super inventive motion. Can you give us some background into your relationship as training partners and what it means to you as an athlete?
Thanks! We first met maybe 10 years ago, when I was a breakdancer and wanted to try some gymnastics. Then, I got into freerunning and showed him some tricks and he could do them all first try. Then I showed him some videos and he learnt every trick out there so quickly. He’s always been a creative guy anyway, so was great to train with him and bounce ideas off each other. He really has incredible spatial awareness!
I’m always impressed by your upper body strength and how you weave b-boy skills into your freerunning. Where do you draw your inspiration to keep pushing yourself?
Thanks! My inspiration comes from some videos and athletes, but mostly from within. We are all unique. It’s nice to remember that and not try to repeat other people’s style or creative moves, and just explore the possibilities.
I feel the best way to serve Parkour is to try to be as unique as possible, so it widens the horizons of what we do and what people see us doing.
Spirituality is definitely a big factor in being able to observe myself and others objectively, in order to further my career and spread this art positively.
I had been a vegetarian for 10 years and I heard that you have recently transitioned to a vegan diet. I am wondering if you could tell us a bit about that experience and any insights to how it has impacted your fitness?
Yea, it was a huge awakening for me. I always thought I was a kind, compassionate guy, cared about animals, loved cats and dogs, etc. It was a big wake-up call when I realized some simple daily choices were KILLING other beings. Once I discovered we can be not just as healthy, but in fact healthier without interfering, kidnaping, and killing the innocent creatures we share this planet with, there wasn’t a doubt in my head: I had to stop taking part in this holocaust.
Sounds grim, but I assure you, I’m not saying this for shock factor. I’m just telling you how it truly is.
With 3 past appearances under your belt, you’re a solid veteran of American Ninja Warrior. Are you planning on going for it again this year?
I’m not going for it this year. The camaraderie amongst the athletes is amazing and I’ve met loads of inspiring people and made friends, but I just don’t like the way it is more about being a good TV show then finding the best athletes.